CELTIC face a four-way transfer tussle if they pursue £15million Bournemouth winger Jordan Ibe.
Neil Lennon has been linked with the former Liverpool star who is out of favour at Dean Court, but three other European sides are also monitoring the situation, according to a report in The Scotsman.
Serie A outfits Napoli and Fiorentina as well as La Liga team Espanyol are interested in the former England Under-21 international raider who made only nine Premier League appearances last season and was an unused substitute in the 1-1 draw against Sheffield United at the weekend.
Despite the 23-year-old’s rare top-side outings, Cherries boss Eddie Howe is in no rush to part with the player, either on loan or on a permanent basis, and, speaking to the Bournemouth Echo, insisted: “Jordan is an integral part of our squad.”
Another stumbling block in any move for the player, who has scored five goals in 88 appearances since his record-breaking switch from Anfield two years ago, is an injury to flanker Arnaut Danjuma, who cost £13.75million when he joined from Club Brugge earlier this month.
The wide man has been sent for scans after aggravating a foot problem that saw him spend four months on the sidelines last season.
That could open the way for Ibe to return to the side and veto any chance of the Hoops, Italians and Spaniards of luring him from the south coast outfit.
STEVEN NAISMITH will miss Hearts’ Betfred League Cup-tie against Motherwell at Fir Park tonight – and boss Craig Levein insisted he will not take risks with the striker, 32, who signed a four-year deal in the summer.
The Edinburgh boss moved to calm concerns over the Scotland international, who missed a fair percentage of last season with two knee injuries while on loan at Tynecastle from Norwich.
Levein, speaking to the Daily Record, admitted: “He won’t play against Motherwell, but it is not significant
“The good thing is he’s an experienced player and he felt a little tingle in his hamstring and recognised it would be silly to go back out and put himself at risk.”
KYLE LAFFERTY, who was given the boot from Rangers by Steven Gerrard last month with a year of his contract still to run, could make a remarkable return to the Premiership with Kilmarnock.
The Northern Ireland frontman talked about his desire of a move back to Hearts, but Craig Levein has made no move for the free agent.
Killie boss Angelo Alessio, however, could be willing to offer the 31-year-old forward terms at Rugby Park.
The Italian, speaking to the Evening Times, said: “The club is working every day to get new players in.
“But we have got to be realistic. Lafferty and some players earn a lot of money.”
PAUL HECKINGBOTTOM insists Oli Shaw will only be allowed to leave Hibs on loan if he can replace him – but Jason Cummings has no chance of a return to Easter Road, as Scotzine reported yesterday.
St Johnstone, St Mirren and Kilmarnock have been linked with a season-long temporary switch for the 21-year-old striker, who last started a game in February when Celtic won 2-0 at Easter Road in the Scottish Cup quarter-final.
Shaw has made three substitute appearances in Betfred League Cup-ties this term and is frustrated at the lack of consistent outings.
Heckingbottom, speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News, said: “There are clubs who will take Oli, we know that. But we’re not letting him go unless we get someone else in. That won’t change.
“There’s interest from the Premiership and Championship, but it’s nothing we can pursue right now. Oli knows the situation, so we’ll wait and see.”
News came out yesterday that Nottingham Forest are willing to offload the club’s former hitman Cummings, who quit two years ago after scoring 71 goals in 150 appearances for the Leith outfit.
However, asked if there was any interest in the 24-year-old, Heckingbottom replied tersely: “No.”