By Matt Farr
European giants Sevilla have joined the race to sign highly-rated Nigerian youngster Henry Onyekuru, according to a report.
Spanish news outlet Estadio Deportivo claim that the 19-year-old is being lined up by the Sevilla’s sporting director and head of recruitment Monchi as one of a number of targets to improve the first-team squad in the summer.
This could be bad news for Celtic who, as long-term admirers of the winger, are expected to renew their interest in his services at the end of the season.
Onyekuru has scored 13 goals and contributed six assists for Belgian Pro League outfit KAS Eupen this season, drawing particular success from his preferred left-wing role.
Celtic are believed to have failed in their attempts sign Onyekuru last month, after their reported £1million bid was rejected by Eupen.
The Belgian side were looking for Celtic to stump up their offer by at least another £3million, but Brendan Rodgers did not return with an improved bid.
However, the Parkhead chief is still believed to be keen on signing Onyekuru, and Sevilla’s recent interest could be the incentive he needs to match Eupen’s £4million valuation of the player.
The promising African star is also understood to be keen on a move to Scotland, after seeking advice from former Nigeria international and Premier League striker Peter Odemwingie.
Football Insider verdict
The new reported interest from Sevilla, a side that has won back-to-back Europa League titles, could be a considerable concern for Rodgers and Celtic in their bid to land one of Africa most promising young talents. They have plenty of pulling power, and their reputation in Europe could give them the advantage over Celtic. However, if reports are correct and Onyekuru fancies a move to Scotland, Celtic must do little more than match Eupen’s asking-price. He would be a fantastic asset to the squad after lighting up the Belgian league, and would provide fierce competition. Meanwhile, there may be a vacancy in the wide areas at the end of the season if Patrick Roberts does not return following his loan spell, and Onyekuru must be the man to fill it.
In other Celtic transfer news, a final decision is expected over this Celtic transfer, and a deal could be completed imminently.