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CELTIC TRANSFER UPDATE: WELSH OUT, LAIDOUNI IN?

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CELTIC defender Stephen Welsh could be involved in a transfer stampede while the champions could be involved in a signing tug of war for Tunisia World Cup midfielder Aissa Laidouni.

Ange Postecoglou is bracing himself for bids for his 22-year-old centre-back when next month’s window opens.

The former Scotland Under-21 international captain is a wanted man, according to the Daily Record.

Welsh is said to be a target for English, Italian and French clubs while Portuguese giants Porto have also been linked with the player who is under contract until June 2025.

WANTED MAN…Stephen Welsh is at the centre of transfer speculation.

The versatile back-four operator was on Ligue 1 side Toulouse’s wish list in the summer, but the Hoops were not interested in selling. Serie A club Udinese made two offers for the versatile star in January – with the top bid believed to be around £1.5million – but that fell way short of the club’s valuation of their defender.

Welsh started the season alongside Cameron Carter-Vickers while Carl Starfelt recovered from an injury sustained in the summer while on international duty with Sweden.

He scored in the 2-0 Premiership opening day victory over Aberdeen at the end of July, but has made just five more first-team appearances and that has alerted interested clubs to his possible availability.

Welsh made 24 appearances for the Hoops last season as they lifted their tenth title in 11 years, but hasn’t figured regularly this time out.

Meanwhile, the Hoops could become involved in a bidding war for Ferencvaros ace Laidouni.

The 26-year-old midfielder was impressive for Tunisia during their performances in the soccer showpiece in Qatar and played in the shock 1-0 Group D success over eventual runners-up France.

CRUNCH…Tunisia midfield ace Assai Laidouni challenges France’s Kingsley Coman in his country’s shock World Cup Group D win in Qatar.

Bundesliga side Wolfsburg have also been linked with Laidouni and the Hungarian club’s president Gabor Kubatov has admitted they are “open” to selling their top asset.

The Budapest outfit will clearly hope for the best possible price for the experienced middle-of-the-park operator.

Club chief Kubatov, speaking to local media Nemzeti Sport, said: “Many people are interested. We haven’t received a specific offer yet, but I’m sure it will come.

“He played at a very high level at the World Cup. And, if we receive an offer that is worth considering, we are open to negotiations.”

Postecoglou has already fixed up Canada right-back Alistair Johnston and J-League central defender Yuki Kobayashi and their moves will be rubberstamped on January1 2023 when both players will be available for selection.

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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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