Noel Whelan insists Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie has what it takes to make it as a Premier League player amid links to Southampton.
The former Aberdeen hitman, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claims the attacker is one of the few players in Scotland who can hack Premier League football.
The Scottish Sun claim Southampton are considering launching a cut-price bid for the Scotland international during the upcoming window.
Christie, 26, is out of contract at the end of 2021 and Celtic risk losing him on a free.
Last season, he scored four goals and picked up 10 assists as the Hoops finished 25 points behind Rangers.
Whelan claims Christie can succeed if he makes the move to St Mary’s this summer.
“He’s one of the standout players at Celtic,” Whelan told Football Insider correspondent Ben Wild.
“He’s a very good player who has done it for a number of years now. He had a difficult season last year but everyone at Celtic did.
“Yes, he probably could make the step up. The level of some of the players in Scotland is not the same as the level in the Premier League.
“It would be more appropriate to say the SPFL is closer to the Championship. That’s no disrespect, that’s just the way it is.
“There are only a few players in Scotland who can make that step up and I think Christie is one of them. He can hack it.”
Christie will link up with former Celtic loanee Mohamed Elyounoussi if he joins Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.
The attacker has made 142 appearances for the Hoops since joining the club in 2015.