By Wayne Veysey
Celtic are ready to make Callum McGregor one of their top earners in a bid to fend off interest from Europe’s elite clubs, Football Insider has learned.
The versatile midfielder, 26, has attracted interest from Premier League and leading clubs on the Continent after establishing himself as one of the outstanding players in Scotland in recent seasons.
A Celtic source has told Football Insider that the club are willing to offer McGregor a pay hike lifting him to the £35,000-a-week mark to reward him for his consistently outstanding performances.
The Scottish champions rebuffed strong interest in their academy product from Leicester City in the summer window, with his former boss Brendan Rodgers eager to take him south of the border.
The 2016 Premier League champions came back in for McGregor on English deadline day after initially being knocked back in July.
Hoops manager Neil Lennon subsequently admitted that the Scotland international was too influential in his side to be allowed to leave, although he recognised the player’s head had been turned.
Leicester were willing to pay between £15million and £20million for McGregor, who signed a new contract only last December that runs until the summer of 2023.
Celtic are aware of interest in the midfielder and are keen to make progress in keeping him ahead of the winter transfer window by opening talks on an improved agreement.
McGregor has made 236 appearances in total for his boyhood club, 59 of which came last season, and is also establishing himself as a key player for the Scotland national team.