By support

26th Jun, 2016 | 8:18pm

Report: Celtic face new rival in bid to sign £12m striker, this club is in pole position

By Alex Taylor

Celtic target Steven Fletcher is attracting the eye of several European clubs, according to a report.

The Sunderland Echo claim that AEK Athens are eager to sign the 29-year-old forward when his contract expires at the end of the month.

Fletcher, who spent the majority of last season on loan in Marseille, has been targeted by Brendan Rodgers as he wants to use Fletcher’s proven Premier League quality in his first season at Celtic.

The Shrewsbury-born Scotland international has also attracted interest from Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday.

But it is reported that Celtic are in pole position to sign, who is willing to take a pay cut in order to secure regular football.

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The 29-year-old was released by Sunderland after manager Sam Allardyce found him surplus to requirements, with Jermain Defoe and Fabio Borini ahead of him in the pecking order.

Fletcher spent the second half of the 2015-16 season on-loan at French giants Marseille, where he scored three goals in a second striker role behind Tottenham target Michy Batshuayi.

The former Wolves striker cost Sunderland £12 million four years ago, and scored 11 goals in his first season at the Stadium of Light and 23 in 108 matches in total for the club.

He has scored 99 league goals in a career that began 13 years ago with Hibernian and enjoyed a successful two-year spell at Wolves, in which he scored 24 goals.

However, Fletcher’s last three years with the Black Cats have been severely interrupted by injury, scoring only 12 Premier League goals during this time.

The striker has said he is well aware of the reports tipping Celtic to make a move for him following the arrival of new manager Rodgers.

In other Celtic news, the club could face a battle to keep hold of one of their attacking aces as English clubs circle.