By Matt Farr
Celtic have been issued a hands-off warning in their pursuit of Nigeria youngster Henry Onyekuru, according to a report.
The 19-year-old told website African Football on Saturday that Celtic had tabled a formal bid in an attempt to entice him to Parkhead this month.
However, the Daily Record have revealed that Belgian outfit K.A.S. Eupen have since responded to Celtic’s interest in emphatic fashion, declaring they have no intention of selling their star goalscorer.
Onyekuru helped Eupen win promotion to the Belgian top-flight last season, and his continued his impressive goalscoring form, netting 12 goals and six assists from just 24 appearances so far in all competitions this season.
It is understood that the young forward has also been attracting interest from Turkish giants Fenerbahce, as well as German duo RB Leipzig and Hoffenheim.
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has already moved to bring one young African star to Scotland this month, having acquired midfielder Kouassi Eboue from Krasnodar, subject to work permit clearances.
Meanwhile, Rodgers also brought former Ivory Coast international Kolo Toure to the club in the summer, and seeks to continue the influx of African talent at Parkhead.
The Record also believe that the former Liverpool boss is not likely to be put-off by Eupen’s hands-off warning, and will continue to monitor the player in hope of a change of heart by his current employers.
Football Insider verdict
Rodgers has a lot of young talent already at his disposal, but his recent preference for young signings is perhaps testament to his long-term vision for the club. He is already made it clear his intention to build a force capable of competing in Europe, but he is also building for the future. Onyekuru has done very well on his Belgian Jupiler Pro League bow, but it remains to be seen whether he can replicate that form at a club of Celtic’s stature. Given the player himself spoke of Celtic’s interest, it seems more likely that he is trying to fashion a move for himself, as opposed to any real intent on Rodgers’ part.
In other Celtic transfer news, the Hoops have completed a deal for this midfielder.