By Noel Whelan

25th Jul, 2020 | 9:30am

Exclusive: Whelan suggests Celtic signing £8.5m star in loan-to-buy deal

Noel Whelan has touted Celtic to sign West Ham striker Albian Ajeti on a loan-to-buy deal this summer.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Aberdeen and Leeds forward believes an initial temporary move would be in the best interested for both the Bhoys and the Swiss hitman.

As revealed by Football Insider, Celtic have held talks with the Irons over doing a deal for the 23-year-old after trying to sign him last summer.

The Switzerland international joined West Ham in an £8.5million-plus deal but after a disappointing first year in east London, the Irons are willing to sell him for just £5million.

Whelan believes that Ajeti will need to adapt to the Scottish Premiership and that Celtic could protect themselves from a bad deal by signing him on loan with the option to buy.

Asked if he thought a loan-to-buy was the best way forward, Whelan told Football Insider: “Yeah, I think that might be the best case. Sometimes you’ve got to see, as a player, how he adapts to that style of Scottish Premiership football.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“It’s not the same as the Premier League and you want to see if he’s going to bed in with the players that you already have. 

“Sometimes that loan signing is the best way to find out about a player, about his character, if he’s committed without paying big money straight away and then finding out he’s not the player, he’s not the right character.

“You give yourself the option with a loan deal.” 

Ajeti has not scored a single goal for the Hammers this season, with just 12 appearances under his belt to date.

A 10-cap international, he netted 43 times in 96 games for former side FC Basel.

In other Celtic news, Neil Lennon has been tipped to bench Scott Bain after a major goalkeeper update.

PLUS: Subscribe for free to our brilliant new YouTube channel for daily videos, interviews with our top pundits and special guests, and all the latest insight into the club you love.