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CELTIC TRANSFER UPDATE: HICKEY, NISBET, VUSKOVIC, PAAL, RYAN, AJER LATEST

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ANGE POSTECOGLOU has been caught up in a multi-million pound transfer whirlwind as he attempts to put together a revamped Celtic squad for the rigours of his first season in Scottish football.

It’s been hectic for the former Australia international manager after touching down 12 days ago as the Hoops’ full-time successor to Neil Lennon who departed Parkhead in February.

As he prepares to take the squad to Wales this week for some pre-season work-outs – with the first due against Sheffield Wednesday in Newport in midweek – he has already welcomed two one-time Hillsborough prospects in 20-year-olds Liam Shaw and Osaze Urhoghide to Glasgow.

However, the 55-year-old Athens-born gaffer has been linked with several possible recruits and Scotzine has sifted through the news to provide a Celtic transfer update.

CELTIC’S £3.4m TARGET…Bologna left-back Aaron Hickey.

AARON HICKEY, the Bologna left-back, is the subject of a £3.4million bid, according to a report in the Scottish Sun

Postecoglou has sanctioned the move for the 19-year-old former Hearts defender. Talks with the one-time Hoops youth player could open this week as the new Parkhead gaffer attempts to solve the problem No.3 position. The squad is light in that area with Diego Laxalt returning to AC Milan after his season-long loan while there are still question marks over the future of Boli Bolingoli who has restarted training at Lennoxtown.

Greg Taylor, who is getting ready to restart training after being involved with the Scotland Euros squad, is the team’s only other recognised left-sided back-four operator.

Postecoglou has stepped up his interest in Hickey with Celtic making an official approach to the Serie a outfit.

The Hoops were interested in their former prospect a year ago, but the teenager opted to try his luck in the Italian top flight.

KENNETH PAAL, the PEC Zwolle left-back, has also been mentioned and Barnsley reportedly had a £650,000 bid rejected recently.

Fellow-Dutch club AZ Alkmaar and French double-act Bordeaux and St Etienne are also among his suitors.

BY THE RIGHT…Mario Vuskovic clears the ball while in action for Hajduk Split.

MARIO VUSKOVIC appears to have taken a step closer to a £5million move to the Hoops after being left out of Hadjuk Split’s latest pre-season warm-up.

The 19-year-old centre-back has been an ever-present during the Croatian club’s training camp in Slovenia, but missed the match against NK Odranci.

The non-appearance of Vuskovic immediately triggered speculation and local media outlet Sportske reported the defender’s absence was down to “preparing for the transfer to Celtic

Head coach Jens Gustafsson, though, was quick to dismiss the claims and during his post-match interview he insisted his player was merely being “rested”.

However, another Croatian media source, Slobodana Dalmacija, noted there are “ongoing negotiations” over a move to the Parkhead club.

ON THE RUN…Kevin Nisbet in action against Croatia’s Luka Modric in last month’s Euros match at Hampden.

KEVIN NISBET, another player who has been linked with Celtic, is also attracting attention from Russian duo Spartak Moscow and Krasnodar.

The £4million-rated Hibs striker is on their radar after his goalscoring expolits at the Edinburgh outfit last season following his first term in the top flight after his move from Dunfermline a year ago.

Nisbet’s value has soared and he made three substitute appearances for Scotland in their doomed Euros bid this month against Czech Republic, England and Croatia.

The 24-year-old attack-leader was wanted by Championship side Birmingham City at the turn of te year, but the Edinburgh club rejected a bid in the region of £2.5million.

HEADING FOR THE HOOPS EXIT…Kristoffer Ajer in action against Ross County in Dingwall in February.

KRISTOFFER AJER is still on Norwich City’s radar and the newly-promoted Premier League outfit are poised to make an improved £12million bid for the Norwegian defender.

The Carrow Road club have already had a £10million offer knocked back for the international, but they are ready to test the Hoops hierarchy’s resolve with an enhanced submission, according to a report in the Daily Record.

Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen, who paid £11.8million for Dutch right-back Jeremie Frimpong in January, were also out of luck last week in a move for the versatile 23-year-old star.

MAT RYAN, Postecoglou’s former Australia international keeper, is likely to disappoint his old manager by agreeing a move to Real Sociedad on a 12-month loan switch from Brighton which could lead to a permanent deal at the Spanish club.

 

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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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