CELTIC have knocked back an audacious loan bid from English League One outfit Gillingham for teenage ace Karamoko Dembele.
However, the champions are considering a similar move from Sunderland for midfielder Luca Connell, who arrived in the summer from Bolton, while they have also recalled prospect Daniel Church from East Fife.
Gills boss Steve Evans has worked with Dembele’s brother Sirki at Peterborough and hoped that might influence a temporary transfer for hot prospect Karamoko who turns 17 next month, according to a report in the Daily Record.
ON THE RUN…Karamoko Dembele in action against Ross County.
However, the eight-in-as-row champions are adamant he is going nowhere and prefer him to remain as they nurture his talent at Lennoxtown and selected first-team appearances. The winger came on as a late substitute for Mikey Johnston in the 3-0 win over Ross County at the weekend although he did not figure in last night’s three-goal triumph over St Johnstone in Perth.
Dembele made his Hoops debut against Hearts last season and also became the youngest player to play for a Scottish club in Europe when he faced Cluj in the Europa League in Romania in December.
Meanwhile, Republic of Ireland Youth international Connell is in talks over a loan move to Sunderland.
The playmaker, who agreed a four-year Hoops deal in June, featured in the pre-season friendly against Rennes, but has been unable to break into Neil Lennon’s first-team plans.
Connell is poised to join other youngsters searching foe game-time such as defender Lee O’Connor (Partick Thistle), striker Jonathan Afolabi (Dunfermline) and keeper Conor Hazard (Dundee).
Returning, though, will be 19-year-old defender Daniel Church who has been recalled from his temporary deal at East Fife.
The youngster made 12 appearances for the Fifers.
ENGLISH Championship sides Birmingham City and Hull City have joined the growing list of clubs showing an interest in Rangers’ Northern Ireland international winger Jordan Jones before tomorrow’s midnight transfer deadline.
Stoke City, Middlesbrough and Blackburn Rovers are also monitoring the player’s situation at Ibrox and boss Steven Gerrard, who signed him from Kilmarnock in the summer, will allow him to move on in a loan switch.
Sunderland have also been linked with the 25-year-old flanker.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN have joined the chase for Hibs winger Martin Boyle.
The Easter Road winger is attracting interest from south of the border as clubs look to make last-minute deals.
Boyle, 26, was scouted by the Championship outfit in the Edinburgh side’s 4-2 Scottish Cup replay win over Dundee United this week.
Hibs boss Jack Ross is adamant he does want to lose the Australian international and will fight to stave off any late bids.
LIVINGSTON are favourites to win the race to sign Ayr United winger Alan Forrest.
The 23-year-old forward is poised to pen a pre-contract deal with the West Lothian side ahead of joining next summer.
Dundee and Partick Thistle were also keen on Forrest, brother of Celtic’s Scotland international winger James, but the challenge of playing in the Premiership next season swung it Livi’s way.
Gary Holt’s side are sitting in the top six after a superb run of form, with their participation in the top flight almost certainly assured for next season.