Rumour Mill: Blow for Celtic in goalkeeper pursuit | Rangers set to miss out on target | Celtic sign Northern Ireland starlet

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Celtic dealt a blow in pursuit of goalkeeper, Rangers set to miss out on target as English club circles and Celtic complete signing of Northern Irish teen from Linfield

Celtic dealt blow in ‘keeper pursuit

Brendan Rodgers is still looking to bolster his Celtic squad. Picture: SNS Group

Brendan Rodgers is still looking to bolster his Celtic squad. Picture: SNS Group

England Under-17 international Arthur Okonkwo has signed a new deal with Arsenal, ending any speculation about his future.

Celtic were linked with the 16-year-old goalie earlier this year, while RB Leipzig were also monitoring the towering teen’s situation.

But Okonkwo has agreed a scholarship deal at the Emirates and will be expected to battle it out for the No.1 spot with the Under-18s along with Daniel Barder, Karl Jakob Hein and Tom Smith. (Various)

Gers blow in Wilson chase

Both Rangers and Leeds could miss out on Liverpool youngster Harry Wilson, with reports in England suggesting the Anfield winger is on his way to Norwich City.

The 21-year-old was also a reported target for Huddersfield and Aston Villa but the Canaries are understood to have already opened talks with the Reds over a potential transfer.

The Carrow Road side are on the hunt for a replacement for James Maddison, who joined Leicester City, and Wilson could fit the bill. (The Sun)

Hoops sign Linfield starlet

Celtic are understood to have signed 15-year-old Ben Wylie from Linfield Rangers.

The midfielder has impressed for Northern Ireland youth teams and Linfield boss David Healy confirmed the teenager had agreed a deal with the Hoops on Thursday last week.

Confirming that Wylie had been scouted by numerous clubs in England and Scotland, Healy added: “He has had the chance to sign for a good club that will look after him and really develop him as a player, and we wish him every success.” (Belfast Live)

Derby and Leeds enter McGinn race

Frank Lampard has set his sights on John McGinn and will battle Celtic and Leeds for the Hibs star, according to reports.

The former Chelsea midfielder is currently working at the World Cup but is believed to be keen on signing the £3 million-rated McGinn for the Rams.

Leeds, Celtic and a host of other English clubs are also keeping tabs on the Scotland international. (Daily Mail)

Hayes set for Celtic exit

Celtic could offload Jonny Hayes this summer just 12 months after paying £1.3 million for the winger. The 30-year-old could well return to Aberdeen after having trouble forcing his way into the first team at Parkhead before breaking his leg in December.

Hayes still has two years left on his Celtic deal so would likely command a fee, as his time in Glasgow looks to be up. (Various)

Maclaren in Hibs plea to Darmstadt

Jamie Maclaren has told his club that he wants to return to Hibs on a permanent basis. The Australia striker, who is currently at the World Cup with his country, impressed for Hibs on loan from the German second tier side last season.

And now the 24-year-old appears desperate to link up again with Hibs and Swiss striker Florian Kamberi, who joined the Easter Road side on a permanent deal earlier this month.

Dirk Schuster, the Darmstadt manager, has already said he expects Maclaren to be part of his team next season but the Brisbane Roar hitman appears to have his heart set on a return to the Capital. (The Sun)

Hearts new boy defends Scottish football

Olly Lee has jumped to the defence of Scottish football after Luton Town fans and pundits questioned his decision to join Hearts. Hatters fans tweeted their bewilderment, while Talksport radio’s Ian “Moose” Abrahams claimed the English League One was more competitive than the Scottish top flight. Lee senior hit back and ex-Celtic striker Chris Sutton joined the discussion to defend Scottish football.

Lee said: “People are naive to Scottish football. Without being disrespectful, it’s a lot bigger here than what I’ve come from. I was ready for a step up, and this is one I’ve been ready for for a couple of years.” (Evening News)

Tav: No more second best

James Tavernier thinks the days of accepting second best at Ibrox are over now that Steven Gerrard is in charge. The defender has been impressed by his first few days working with the former Liverpool skipper and his staff.

With Gerrard now demanding nothing but the best from his squad, 
Tavernier says things are finally looking up. He told RangersTV: “It still feels strange he is my manager. I know he is the gaffer now and you do get those little moments when you find
yourself going, ‘That’s Steven Gerrard over there’. They have raised the standard higher which has always needed to be done because it has dropped over the years.” (The Scotsman)