By Pete O'Rourke

31st Jan, 2020 | 4:29pm

Exclusive: Celtic open talks to sign newly-available Newcastle 28-yr-old

Celtic have opened talks with Newcastle United about signing winger Christian Atsu, Football Insider can reveal.

Manager Neil Lennon wants to strengthen his team’s attack before the window shuts after Mikey Johnston sustained suspected knee ligament damage on Wednesday night.

A Celtic source has told Football Insider that talks have begun over a deal for Atsu after the club learned he has been made available by the Premier League club for loan.

The Scottish giants must overcome English Championship club Blackburn Rovers ahead of the 11pm cut-off.

Atsu, 28, is also a firm target for division leaders West Brom, as first revealed by Football Insider on Wednesday night.

He has been a regular for Steve Bruce’s side with 22 appearances in all competitions this season, but only eight of those have been as a starter.

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The recent arrival of Valentino Lazaro on loan from Inter Milan has increased competition for places in attack at St James’ Park.

The Ghana international has made 118 appearances for Newcastle since signing in 2017 after a successful loan spell at Chelsea.

Celtic want reinforcements on the wing as they face losing Johnston for an extended period, and possibly even for the rest of the season in what is a shattering blow.

The Hoops sold Scott Sinclair to Preston North End earlier in the window as well as giving the green light for Lewis Morgan to join MLS new boys Inter Miami in the US.

In other Newcastle United news, a multiple late-window signing blizzard involving the club is on the cards.