Rumour Mill: Celtic told £1.5m for Ciftci | Bakkali

DUNDEE United have told Celtic they must pay £1,5 million if they want to sign wantaway striker Nadir Ciftci, Hoops target Zakaria Bakkali is set to sign for Valencia, and Rangers have taken a former Manchester United youngster on trial.

Ciftci is said to be keen on a move to Celtic Park, but the club will have to meet United's asking price. Picture: John Devlin

Dundee United demand £1.5m for Nadir Ciftci

Dundee United have underlined their determination to hold onto striker Nadir Ciftci unless Celtic meet the asking price for the player.

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While Wigan had a bid of just over £1 million accepted - before being rejected by the player - it would take a fee of £1.5 million for United to accepted an offer to sell Ciftci to their Scottish Premiership rivals.

Manager Jackie McNamara insisted the club would be happy for Ciftci to remain on their books until at least January if their asking price was not met. (Daily Express)

Celtic target set to sign for Valencia

Belgian winger Zakaria Bakkali is close to sealing a deal with La Liga giants Valencia after jetting into the Spanish city.

The 19-year old was said to be the subject of a Celtic bid in January.

However, with Stoke also interested, it appears the highly rated youngster has chosen the lure of mixing it with Barcelona and Real Madrid over life in the Scottish Premiership. (AS)

Rangers take ex-Man United youngster on trial

Rangers have been observing former Manchester United prospect Jordan Thompson as the player spent last week training at Murray Park.

Should the Northern Irish midfielder earn a permanent deal it’s thought he’ll largely play a role in the development squad for the 2015/16 season, though the Ibrox coaching staff are said to have been impressed when his ability after taking part in a first-team training session.

Thompson signed for United in June 2013 but was released from Old Trafford this summer. (The Sun)

Hibs target Antonio Reguero and Keith Watson

Hibs boss Alan Stubbs has turned his attention to Spanish goalkeeper Antonio Reguero as he seeks to provide stiff competition for the gloves for No 1 Mark Oxley.

The big Yorkshireman, who played in all but one of the Easter Road club’s games last season on loan from Hull City, signed a new permanent two-year deal last week, but Stubbs wants to add another goalkeeper to his squad. (The Scotsman)

League Cup rules to change after Hearts double booked

The SPFL are set to change the entry rules for the League Cup after being faced with the crazy situation of having Hearts double booked on day one of the season.

The runaway Championship winners will unfurl the flag and open up their Premiership campaign at packed-out Tynecastle against St Johnstone on Sunday, 2 August.

However, due to rules inherited from the Scottish Football League, Hearts are also scheduled to play in the first round of the League Cup the same weekend. (The Scotsman)

Former Rangers winger calls Eustace deal ‘a gamble’

Ex-Rangers midfielder Ted McGinn has warned manager Mark Warburton that signing 35-year old John Eustace would represent ‘a gamble’

McGinn spent five years playing for Eustace’s former club Derby County and still regularly watches the East Midlands club.

While he admits Eustace is a good player, a knee injury sustained last season gives McGinn cause for concern, and he reckons Rangers should be looking at players who can shine for Rangers over the next four years, not just for the immediate future. (Evening Times)

McHugh & Heffernan stake claims for Falkirk deals

Attacking duo Bob McHugh and Paul Heffernan will travel with Falkirk to their training camp in Ireland this week looking to secure contracts after making 45-minute appearances against Queen’s Park in a 5-0 closed-door win.

Former Hibs captain Liam Craig trained with Falkirk before the game but did not feature, while former Motherwell striker McHugh started and ex-Killie, Hibs and Dundee front man Heffernan appeared for the second half. (The Scotsman)

Inverness CT extend trial of English striker

John Hughes has decided to extend the trial of striker JJ Hooper as the Caley Thistle boss swithers on whether to offer the player a permanent deal.

Hooper is looking to join his countryman Jordan Roberts in winning a contract with the Highland capital club, though he has failed to find the net in any of the three pre-season games in which he’s featured.

Hughes is looking to give him another run out in the upcoming friendly with Forres Mechanics before he makes his decision. (Press and Journal)

James Forrest: Celtic will be fine for Stjarnan

James Forrest insists Celtic will be ready to deal with Stjarnan and safely negotiate the first hurdle of the route to the Champions League despite some dreadful defending in a surprisingly heavy defeat by Dukla Prague.

The winger believes it can be attributed to rustiness and feels sure another hard spell of training, coupled with Friday’s final warm-up game against Davie Moyes’ Real Sociedad, will ensure Celtic are in the right shape for the first leg with the Icelandic champions on 15 July. (The Scotsman)

Alim Ozturk ‘honoured’ to be in line for captaincy

Alim Ozturk admits he is humbled to be among the players under consideration to replace Danny Wilson as Hearts captain, confessing he never imagined he would develop such a strong bond with the club so quickly.

The popular Turk, who is still only 22, was handed the armband for Saturday’s 4-2 win over Shelbourne and although his afternoon was curtailed by injury after 26 minutes, he was “honoured” by the gesture. (The Scotsman)