Celtic to triumph in three-way battle for 11-goal ace, midfielder used as makeweight - report
By Will Butcher
Celtic are set to fend off interest from Championship duo Cardiff and Nottingham Forest to sign Aberdeen winger Jonny Hayes, according to a report.
TeamTalk claims Brendan Rodgers’ side will win the race to claim the signature of the 29-year-old attacker, despite Neil Warnock’s Cardiff making two offers for Hayes in January.
It is believed that Celtic will now sign Hayes as the Hoops have agreed to let Ryan Christie join Derek McInnes’ side on a permanent basis after joining the Dons on loan in January.
Christie, 22, scored six goals during his 15 league and cup appearances while on loan, finding the back of the net against the likes of Rangers, Motherwell and St. Johnstone.
Now, the young Hoops midfielder will join Aberdeen beyond his loan, allowing Hayes to move to Parkhead this summer.
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Aberdeen’s number 11, Hayes, has shone in the Dons’ impressive season that saw them finish in second place and above Celtic’s Old Firm rivals Rangers.
The three-time Republic of Ireland international scored 11 times for Aberdeen during the 2016-17 campaign, making 43 league and cup appearances in total.
However, the Dons were unable to extend his contract at Pittodrie which expired on Wednesday, and he is now set to join Celtic.
Football Insider verdict:
Hayes is a top signing for Celtic following the loss of Man City attacker Patrick Roberts who had shone during a loan spell north of the border. Rodgers is likely to be in the market for new wingers this summer, with only James Forrest and Scott Sinclair currently on the books while Gary Mackay-Steven is said to be interesting other sides. Hayes knows how to find the back of the net in Scotland’s top tier, and he could prove crucial in the Bhoys’ pursuit of completing a second successive treble. However, it remains to be seen if Hayes will be successful in Europe as Celtic look to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League.
In other Celtic transfer news, Martin O’Neill has given his verdict on Hayes.