CELTIC have secured the services of Nottingham Forest defender Kelvin Wilson on a pre-contract agreement and are still seeking to accelerate the player's signing during the current transfer window.
Neil Lennon last night confirmed that a deal has been struck with Wilson, one of his long-standing transfer targets, to join Celtic in the summer when his existing deal at Forest expires. The former Notts County and Preston North End player is understood to have agreed a three-year contract.
The Celtic manager has not given up hope of adding the 25-year-old to his squad this month, however, as he looks to strengthen his central defensive options for the second half of the season. "The pre-contract deal is done," said Lennon. "There may now be some movement in the next few weeks. If not, then we'll have Kelvin in the summer. If the possibility is there for him to come here in January, then I'd like to have him now. But it's up to Forest. They have their own priorities at the moment and he is still technically a Forest player."
Wilson first came to Lennon's attention when they were team-mates at Forest in 2007 during the Celtic manager's brief spell at the City Ground at the end of his playing career.
"I like him a lot," added Lennon. "I played with him for six months when I was at Forest. He was 22 then and still developing physically. We have watched him for the last couple of years and he has been very consistent in the Championship.
"He's very quick, composed on the ball and decent in the air as well. We did try to sign him at the start of this season, but there was nothing doing there."
Lennon's hopes of signing Norwegian international striker Erik Huseklepp this month, meanwhile, remain in the balance with Celtic so far unable to agree on a fee for the player with his club Brann who value him at around 2 million.
"We are still in negotiations," said Lennon. "They set a price, we set another and there might be a bit of to-ing and fro-ing in between. I don't know if it will go through or not. We will have other options if it doesn't.
"The gap between the clubs was significant yesterday and I don't know if there has been any sort of improvement on that. I don't know where we are with it. But hopefully it is something we can get done. Both parties would like it resolved sooner rather than later. I wouldn't like it to go on as long as another couple of weeks."
Lennon believes 26-year-old Huseklepp, scorer of one of Norway's goals in their 4-0 drubbing of Scotland in Oslo at the start of last season, would provide the Celtic attack with greater variety. "He's got pace, he's direct and he makes good runs from deep," observed Lennon. "He can commit people. Technically, he's very good. It's that old cliche, he's got good feet for a big man. He's skilful and has improved dramatically over the last year and a half. We've been monitoring him for quite a while. His international form is very, very good and his club form has come on leaps and bounds over the past few seasons.
"Scandinavia has been a good market for Celtic and we might have to shop in places like there to get the quality we are looking for.
"He would give us something a bit different. We are looking for someone who can stretch teams. He can play in any of the front three positions."
Canadian midfielder Dwayne De Rosario remains on trial at Celtic and Lennon will reach a judgement on whether to pursue his signing next week. "He is here for another week or so," he said, "and we'll make a decision then. He's done okay."
Any new arrival could signal the departure of Glenn Loovens, although Lennon insists there has been no interest expressed so far in the Dutch defender.