Celtic desperate to seal signing of prolific attacker by Monday - report
By Danny Wright
Celtic are eager to complete the loan signing of Patrick Roberts from Manchester City by Monday, before their Champions League play-off clash against Astana, according to a report.
The Sunday Post claims that the Hoops are desperate to get the 20-year-old back in their squad so that he can be registered for the clash against the Kazakhstan giants.
It is understood that Roberts can be registered as a wild-card in the Bhoys’ side in time for Tuesday’s deadline and is a likely replacement for Leigh Griffiths who is believed to be short of fitness.
However the report adds that Man City are not sure that a move back to Glasgow would be within Roberts’ best interests, with Ligue 1 side Nice and Premier League side Southampton also vying for his signature.
The former Fulham forward proved himself as a prolific attacker in his spell at Celtic, scoring 17 goals and supplying 21 assists in 60 appearances across all competitions.
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Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that he is hopeful of bolstering his attack in time for the Astana showdown.
“If we can have someone registered before Astana, that would be great, but we shall see,” he said, as quoted by the Sunday Post.
“I have to look at the striker position because I want to go with two, and have a young third one.”
Moussa Dembele is currently sidelined with injury while Griffiths has been forced to play a lot of football despite suffering fitness problems of his own.
Tom Rogic has also been called upon to play up front and while Roberts spent most of his 18-month-long loan stay at Celtic, he is adept at playing as a striker.
Football Insider Verdict
It’ll be interesting to see how long Celtic will keep up the pressure on signing Roberts. He has turned into a true fan favourite and is arguably one of the best players to grace the Parkhead pitch in the last few years. Nice have already signed Allan Saint-Maximin so they might not need another winger before the transfer closes, but Southampton are probably the main threat. The Saints like to make the most out of young English players, and the chance to showcase his talent in the Premier League could be a big deciding factor for Roberts. A move to Celtic could be a risk with a Champions League group stage spot not yet guaranteed. It might be wise for him to wait it out until the end of August before deciding where he wants to go.
In other Celtic news, Chris Sutton has urged Rodgers to axe this 25-year-old from the first-team.