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31st May, 2017 | 3:50pm

Celtic set to battle Championship club for £1m-rated midfielder as Warnock steps up pursuit - report

By Derek Smithson

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock is set to step up his pursuit of Aberdeen ace Jonny Hayes despite interest from Celtic, according to a report.

The Daily Record claim that the Championship club have “returned to the negotiating table” under the advice of Warnock in an attempt to sign the 29-year-old midfielder.

It is understood that Aberdeen rejected a January bid from Cardiff for their winger and were looking for £1million for his signature, something they are likely to ask for once again.

Aberdeen boss Derek McInness does not want to lose his star man, but knows it will be hard to keep him away from interested parties.

The report details that a bidding war may now start between Cardiff and Celtic, with the latter interested in adding Hayes to their squad.

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Brendan Rodgers is looking to bolster his squad ahead of next season as the Bhoys prepare for the Champions League qualifiers.

Hayes has been identified as a target and the PFA player of the year nominee has been in sensational form in Scotland recently.

The right winger made 44 appearances across all competitions last season, scoring 11 goals and supplying 24 assists in return.

Warnock is concerned that European football may lead Hayes to choose the Scottish champions, but is quietly confident of securing his target.

Football Insider verdict:

Celtic need to submit a big offer and blow Cardiff out of the water in the race to sign Hayes. The 29-year-old has been in spectacular form recently and proven that he can be prolific in the Scottish League. Rodgers need to be on the search for a new winger as loanee Patrick Roberts returns to Manchester City and will need someone that can chip in with goals to replace him. Hayes was the best non-Celtic player in the division last season and deserves the chance now to make a big-money move. The pull of the Champions League should be enough to convince him to pick Celtic over Cardiff.

In other Celtic transfer news, Joe Miller has given his verdict on the club’s recent recruitment.

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