By Matt Farr
Celtic have stepped up their interest in highly-rated Red Star Belgrade winger Srdjan Plavsic, according to a report.
The Daily Mail claim that recruitment chief Lee Congerton will be deployed on a scouting mission to assess the youngster’s talents during a clash between Serbia and Spain at the Euro Under-21 Championships on Friday.
Plavsic, 21, has already been heavily coveted by the Scottish club during the past year, and has been watched by Celtic on two previous occasions during the 2016-17 Serbian domestic season.
The young attacker scored eight goals and supplied five assists from 39 appearances for Red Star last season, as they finished second in the Serbian SuperLiga, and could be available for a bargain £1.5million.
A Vojvodina youth product, Plavsic has been identified by Celtic as one of several potential replacements for star wide-man Patrick Roberts, who returned to Manchester City following a successful 18-month loan spell.
Brendan Rodgers has already snapped up Aberdeen’s Jonny Hayes in a £1.3million deal last week, but Celtic are still in the hunt for further reinforcements.
Gary Mackay-Steven could be set to quit in the coming weeks after falling out-of-favour at the club, having failed to seize his chance in the first-team with just 11 appearances in all competitions last season.
But Celtic could face fierce competition for Plavsic’s signature this summer, with European rivals Basel and Sparta Prague also believed to be keen.
Plavsic has just one year remaining on his current deal with the Serbian giants, but he has already made public his desire to make the next step in his career.
Football Insider verdict
Celtic clearly see something in Plavsic if they are willing to spend such valuable time and resources on monitoring his developments. The youngster gave an impressive showing during his first-team responsibilities for Red Star last term, and if available for just a bargain £1.5million, this could be an important race for Celtic to win. If he has the potential to become one of Europe’s most exciting wingers, then he could help Celtic become a real force on the continent in the coming years – which is what Rodgers seeks to achieve after winning a domestic treble in his first season at the club. And if they are to compete with just Basel and Sparta Prague, Celtic should fancy themselves to come out on top.
In other Celtic transfer news, the Hoops have reportedly joined a Premier League contingent in the race for this 26-goal hitman.