Celtic to swoop for Ajax forward Derk Boerrigter

Neil Lennon: Adding to his squad. Picture: SNS
Neil Lennon: Adding to his squad. Picture: SNS
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CELTIC look likely to strengthen their squad ahead of this week’s Champions League clash against Elsfborg following reports that Ajax forward Derk Boerrigter is set for a switch to Parkhead.

The 26-year-old Dutchman, who plays predominantly on the left, was expected to arrive in Glasgow today to undergo a medical, with his agent, Soren Lerby, quoted in the Netherlands over the weekend, saying that he would sign a three-year contract with the Parkhead club.

He still has a year left on his contract in Amsterdam, so the move would involve a transfer fee.

The proposed arrival of Boerrigter would provide Celtic with a much-needed boost in attack after the departure of Gary Hooper, their top scorer of the last three years, to Norwich City last week.

In order to feature in either leg of the Champions League third qualifying round tie with Elfsborg, his registration would have to be completed by tomorrow night’s deadline.

Having sat out the Johan Cruyff Shield match against AZ Alkmaar at the weekend with an ankle knock, it remains to be seen if indeed he would be ready to make his debut in Wednesday’s first leg against the Swedes at Celtic Park.

Boerrigter is currently in his second spell with Ajax. He came through the Amsterdam club’s renowned youth system but, after being unable to establish himself in the first team, he left in 2007 to join Zwolle before moving on to RKC Waalwijk two years later.

He averaged better than a goal every three games at Waalwijk, scoring 25 goals in 64 league appearances, and in the process earned himself a move back to Ajax. He has made over 40 appearances over the past two seasons, although most of those came last term, with a back injury curtailing most of his first season back in Amsterdam and preventing him making his debut for the Dutch national team after he earned his first call-up. Last season, he was part of the Ajax side that shone in a Champions League group of death alongside Real Madrid, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund. Indeed, he scored in a 4-1 loss against Madrid.

Meanwhile, Artjoms Rudnevs last night handed Celtic the most emphatic of knock-backs by insisting he would never move from the Bundesliga to Scotland. The Hamburg striker is on Celtic’s shortlist for a new striker, but manager Neil Lennon has admitted it would be a long-shot if they could land the Latvian international, who has a £4 million price tag on his head.

The Germans have insisted they don’t want to sell and Rudnevs also helped to kill any further speculation on a move to Glasgow stone dead. “Why would I move from the Bundesliga to Scotland? I have established myself in the Bundesliga – the Scottish league is not comparable,” he said.

“I accept there will be striker competition for me – that’s football. But I have not come to Hamburg just to leave again after just one year. I would never consider such a move.”