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CELTIC MUST DITCH £10m WORTH OF TALENT, INSISTS EX-STAR

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CHARLIE NICHOLAS believes Neil Lennon should dump something in the region of £10MILLION worth of talent.

The former Celtic striker insists the champions should get rid of Olivier Ntcham, Boli Bolingoli and Vakoun Issouf Bayo to fund future moves.

Nicholas, 58, reckons his old club should target fans’ favourite Fraser Forster as a priority signing, but acknowledges the skyscraper keeper will not come cheaply.

The one-time England international No.1 rejoined the club in August on a season-long loan from Southampton and became a key man in the team’s march towards a record-equalling nine titles and put in an unbeatable Man of the Match display in the Betfred League Cup Final triumph over Steven Gerrard’s Rangers outfit at Hampden in December.

Forster still has two years to run on a lucrative contract at the south coast club and the Saints will also look for a transfer fee for the Geordie giant who cost £10million when they swooped to take him from Parkhead in the summer of 2014.

The Premier League side have also been linked with Ntcham, who cost Brendan Rodgers £4.5million when he joined from Manchester City in June 2017.

Lennon paid £3million for left-back Bolingoli from Vienna Rapid in July as a replacement for Arsenal-bound Kieran Tierney while hitman Bayo arrived in a £2million switch in January 2019.

Nicholas, writing in his Daily Express column, said: “I’d offload Olivier Ntcham as I just don’t see him staying because he isn’t getting enough game time.

“Scott Brown is a leader, Callum McGregor has become one, Ryan Christie is a big player and Neil Lennon will try to keep Odsonne Edouard, but Fraser Forster needs to be tied down first.

“The Hoops hierarchy have to show the desire to bring the player in long term because that approach will play a big part in a deal like this.

“They spent close to £10million on Edouard because they were aware of his value and potential future worth.

“Forster is a proven talent, though, and it wouldn’t be a gamble to bring him in long term even if Celtic have to push out the boat to get him.

“Boli Bolingoli should be offloaded, too. He should have been out the door instead of Jonny Hayes.

“Hayes is a strange one – I would have given him another contract as the deal would have been straightforward and within the club’s financial reach.

“The Irishman can play a couple of positions and I find it weird that Lennon has allowed him to leave.

“Striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo is another one I would get rid of in a heartbeat, but that is a hard ask to try and get value for him in the current market.

“I am surprised at some of the players who have been released.”

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Editor

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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