Confirmed: Celtic reveal 27-year-old will leave this summer, eight reported clubs interested
By Alex Stevens
Anthony Stokes has ended his six-year spell at Celtic, the club announced on Wednesday night.
The Scottish giants have rejected the opportunity to take up a year’s option on the former Arsenal striker in the hope of commanding a fee.
The Daily Record claim there is interest in eight clubs in the 27-year-old, with new Rotherham manager Alan Stubbs admitting he is keen to be reunited with the player he managed at Hibernian in the second half of the 2015-16 season.
Celtic announced on their official website that Stokes has left Parkhead after scoring 77 goals in 192 appearances for the club.
“Everyone at Celtic would sincerely like to wish Anthony the very best of success for the future,” said a statement on the club’s website.
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New Millers boss Stubbs had Stokes on loan from the Hoops in his last managerial post at Hibernian.
“I wouldn’t rule out an interest in Anthony Stokes but we wouldn’t be on our own,” said Stubbs, as quoted by the Daily Record. “There will be a number of clubs interested him, particularly if it’s a free transfer.”
Stokes scored 10 goals in all competitions while on loan with the Scottish Championship side for the second half of the season, including a double in the cup final triumph over Rangers.
Rotherham’s fellow Championship side Birmingham are among the clubs who have been linked with a swoop for the striker, who joined Celtic from Hibs six years ago.
Stokes has courted controversy at Parkhead and was suspended for two weeks in December after criticising then manager Ronny Deila on Twitter.
The trouble resulted in Celtic shipping him out on loan to Hibernian and, although the Republic of Ireland international spoke about his desire to be part of Brendan Rodgers’ new look side, the Hoops have reportedly not taken up their option of a one-year extension in order to command a fee for the striker.
“I know him from his time at Hibs and at Celtic,” Stubbs said of the former Arsenal and Sunderland player. Obviously, it doesn’t hurt that I have a good relationship with him already.
“I like to have a good relationship with all my players. I talk to them before and after training. I have had a lot of players from Hibs ring or text me to wish me well since I moved to Rotherham.”
In other Celtic news, the Hoops are due to do battle with Rangers for another Ireland international.