Exclusive: Celtic may be doing Rangers big transfer favour as 7-figure deal close - ex-Ger

Alan Hutton believes Celtic could be doing Rangers a big favour in their bid to sign Ianis Hagi this summer by selling Eboue Kouassi to Genk.

The former Gers defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, suggests the Hoops’ midfielder, who has been on loan to the Belgian side since January, could free up space for the Ibrox loanee to stay with Steven Gerrard’s men.

Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad report that Genk are ready to trigger the £1.3million purchase clause for the 22-year-old Celtic loanee and that negotiations are ongoing for Hagi’s Ibrox move to be made permanent.

While he admits he does not think Neil Lennon will be thinking he will be helping out the Bhoys’ fiercest rivals, Hutton is hoping Kouassi’s move can see Hagi remain at Ibrox.

Hutton told Football Insider: “I don’t think Lennon will see it as doing Rangers a favour, to be honest. I think his mindset will be elsewhere, he’ll be looking to strengthen his own team.

“However, it’s great for Rangers if that’s the case, that they bring him in and it frees up some space for Hagi to leave.

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“I think he’s done excellent for Rangers in the short time that he’s been there so with the qualities he’s got I think he’s only going to get better. Whether the price will be a stumbling block, we’re yet to see – we’re talking £3-4million so it’s whether Rangers can loosen the purse strings.

“I hope they do because he’s shown in his short time he can be a top player and a fans’ favourite.”

Hagi, 21, has played 12 times for Rangers since joining back in January, scoring three goals and contributing two assists.

Kouassi meanwhile has 22 appearances for Celtic since joining back in January 2017, though not a single one came during the first half of this season.

In other Rangers news, Hutton suggests a 22 goal/assist striker who has bullied Celtic could replace a 25-year-old Ibrox star.