By Alex Stevens

Steven Fletcher has revealed he is “flattered” to be linked with Celtic – seven years after they baulked at paying the £3million needed to prise him from Hibernian.

The Scotland international is a free agent this summer after ending his four-year spell at Sunderland.

Fletcher, 29, scored 23 goals in 108 matches for the Black Cats and spent the second half of the recently completed domestic season on loan at Marseille.

The striker is well aware of the reports tipping Celtic to make a move for him following the arrival of new manager Brendan Rodgers.

“It’s flattering for me to be linked with Celtic but it’s never happened,” he said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun. “I’d love to sit and tell you where I was going because it would be better for me.

“I’ve been away with Scotland and working hard so I’ve not been aware of what’s been going on. But when I get back home and touch base hopefully I’ll have a few options.

“I’ve not even thought about my future. I’ve not had much contact with anyone yet.

“I’ll sit down and think about it after this week and start picking up my phone when I go off on holiday.

“My wife will be worse than me wondering where we’re going. I’m quite laid back, I’m used to moving around — but she isn’t.”

Fletcher has played in the English Premier League for Burnley, Wolves and Sunderland and scored a highly creditable 53 goals in 189 appearances in the competition.

He moved to England from Hibernian in 2009 after Celtic decided not to pay the £3million needed to buy him from their Scottish rivals.

Fletcher, who has also scored eight goals in 27 Scotland matches, is available on a free this summer and one possibility is a return to his homeland.

Fletcher is convinced that Celtic have made a sound decision to secure former Liverpool and Swansea manager Rodgers.

“It’s a great appointment, a great step forward for Celtic,” he told the Scottish Sun. “The fans want Champions League football and to do well in it — and with him it’s a step in the right direction.”

In other Celtic news, the club could face a battle to keep hold of one of their attacking aces as English clubs circle.