Celtic in advanced talks to sign PL winger, sticking point is asking-price - report
By Matt Farr
Celtic are in advanced talks over a deal to sign Manchester City winger Patrick Roberts this summer, according to a report.
The Mirror claim that the Scottish champions are prepared to pay £5million to land the star performer on a permanent deal, following a successful loan spell at the club.
Roberts, 20, has just completed an 18-month deal at Parkhead, where he contributed 17 goals and 21 assists from 60 appearances in all competitions.
But with the England Under 20 international poised to return to Manchester City ahead of next season, Celtic faced an uphill struggle to retain his services for an extended spell.
However, the latest report suggests that Celtic have made significant progress in their bid to keep hold of Roberts, and are in “advanced talks” over a potential deal.
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But Celtic are still yet to settle on a suitable transfer fee with the Premier League giants, who bought Roberts for £12million in 2015.
Man City boss Pep Guardiola will be looking to recoup as much of his initial transfer fee as possible, and is unlikely to settle for Celtic’s paltry £5million offer.
However, Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers still has one more trick up his sleeve, and remains confident that he can strike an agreement with his City counterpart.
When Celtic sold defender Virgil van Dijk to Southampton in 2015, they inserted a sell-on clause in his contract that entitled them to a share of the fee.
That fee could be as high as £10million, with the Dutchman currently on the verge of a transfer worth £60million, and Rodgers wants to use that profit to fund his pursuit of Roberts.
Their attempts to agree personal terms with the player will prove no obstacle as Roberts established himself as a firm favourite at Parkhead, and will be welcomed back with open arms.
Football Insider verdict
Celtic fans will be licking their lips at the prospect of seeing Roberts in the green-and-white for the foreseeable future. Roberts has been a big hit at the club, and he will be a major loss to the club. But if Celtic can earn a handsome fee from Southampton’s sale of van Dijk, Rodgers will have no hesitation but to use the profit to bridge the gap between his current £5m offer, and Manchester City’s demands for Roberts. The youngster may struggle to earn regular first-team opportunities at the Etihad next season, and Celtic would be an ideal place for him to continue his development.
In other Celtic transfer news, the club have been dealt a potential blow in their reported pursuit of Aberdeen winger Jonny Hayes.