By Aramide Oladipo
Celtic and Leeds United are set to battle it out for the signature of Arsenal youngster Chuba Akpom this summer, according to a report.
The Mirror claims on the live transfer blog on their website (Monday, 10.09am) that the 21-year-old is desperate for a move away from the Emirates Stadium in order to become a first-team regular this season.
The newspaper reports that the SPL champions and the Championship side are both interested in signing the striker on a permanent deal before the transfer window shuts.
The report claims that Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is looking to provide competition for the current first-choice options Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths.
It is said that the Yorkshire club are seeking a replacement for the outgoing Chris Wood who looks set to complete a move to Premier League side Burnley.
Akpom suffered a back injury last season which kept him on the sidelines for the majority of the campaign.
Although the striker has spent his playing career at the North London club, he has only managed to make 10 appearances for the senior team.
The youngster currently has two years remaining on his contract at the Emirates Stadium.
Football Insider verdict
If both Celtic and Leeds step up their interest in Akpom and table a bid, it will be interested to see where he decides to ply his trade this season. The youngster is reportedly keen to become a regular but he is unlikely to play many minutes at Celtic Park with Griffiths and Dembele the preferred options. Of course, there has been speculation surrounding Dembele’s future this summer so securing Akpom’s signature could potentially spell the end of the Frenchman’s short stay in Scotland. Leeds have started the season in fine style and although the Hoops can use the temptation of Champions League football, Akpom might decide to move to Elland Road and prove that he can provide the goals for a team pushing for promotion to the Premier League.
In other Celtic news, Barcelona legend Xavi has made a bold claim about the Bhoys’ chances of European success.