CELTIC are stepping up their interest in £4million-rated right-back Omar Elab­del­laoui, of Olympiakos.

The 27-year-old Norwegian international defender is poised to play for the Greeks against Eboue Kouassi’s former club FC Krasnodar in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier in Russia tonight with a 4-0 advantage.

Barring a disaster, the visitors will win a place in the lucrative group stages, but they could still cash in on the player who is under contract until June 2021.

The Hoops were interested in Elabdellaoui during the January transfer window, but were not prepared to meet his £35,000-per-week wages and instead turned their attention to Borussia Dortmund’s Jeremy Toljan who left in the summer after failing to make an impact.

Neil Lennon paid £1.2million to Hapoel Be’er Sheva for Hatem Abd Elhamed last month, but has admitted he still needs to strengthen the full-back positions with Kieran Tierney, Mikael Lustig, Emilio Izaguirre and Cristian Gamboa quitting in recent months.

Lech Poznan’s £6million-rated Roberty Gummy is also on the club’s wanted list, but Elab­del­laoui now appears to be the top target and a move could be made after the European tie this evening.

Lennon admitted he thinks he will land “two or three” players this week.

AARON HICKEY, the teenage Hearts left-back, has emerged as a sensational £1.5million target for English champions Manchester City, according to a report in The Sun.

Pep Guardiola’s moneybags outfit are looking to swoop in January for the 17-year-old defender who only came into Craig Levein’s first team plans nearing the end of last season.

Hickey, who was 16 at the time, came to the attention of City when he played against Celtic in the Edinburgh side’s 2-1 Scottish Cup Final defeat at Hampden on May 25 and impressed while in direct opposition to Scotland international winger James Forrest.

The Edinburgh side and City have developed a good relationship with Japanese star Ryotaro Meshino, 21, joining the Edinburgh outfit on loan for the rest of the season.

STEVIE MAY’S long-running transfer saga could come to an end this week with Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes telling St Johnstone to thrash out a deal for the striker.

The Perth outfit have already failed with two attempts and another loan bid to take their former frontman back to McDiarmid Park.

McInnes is willing to cut his losses and write off the £400,000 he paid to Preston two years ago, but is NOT interested in a temporary transfer.

The Pittodrie boss, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “There needs to be some middle ground.

“I’m sure if there is enough desire from all parties they can find a solution to get something done.”


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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