'It would be a significant signing' – Sutton delivers verdict on reported Celtic pursuit of 29-year-old
By Matt Farr
Chris Sutton believes Aberdeen winger Jonny Hayes would be a “significant signing” for Celtic this summer.
BBC Sport claimed on Saturday that the Scottish champions were among a number of clubs interested in signing the 29-year-old, following an impressive season with the Dons.
Hayes contributed 11 goals and 24 assists from 44 appearances last term, and Brendan Rodgers is understood to be keen to add him to his treble-winning Celtic squad.
Ex-Hoops striker Sutton, who made 199 appearances for Celtic, believes signing Hayes would help weaken the competition in Scotland ahead of next season.
He wrote in his column for the Daily Record: “Now I have to make it clear, I like Hayes. He has had a great season.
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“While I wouldn’t say he has carried Aberdeen at times they are certainly not the same team without him in it.
“So in terms of weakening the opposition in Scotland it would be a significant signing if they complete the £1.2m deal reported to be in the pipeline.”
He does, however, fear that Hayes would not improve the Celtic squad on their quest to make an impact in European competitions.
The Champions League was the one competition where Celtic struggled last season, finishing bottom of their group without a single win from their six games.
But after winning the treble and going unbeaten in all domestic competitions, Rodgers has turned his attention to the European stage.
Celtic are likely to be without star winger Patrick Roberts next season, after his 18-month loan deal with the Scottish club expired.
The 20-year-old contributed 17 goals and 21 assists from his 60 appearances in all competitions during his time at Parkhead, but a move for Hayes suggests Rodgers has identified a replacement.
Hayes is under contract at Aberdeen until 2019, and can play on either side of midfield.
In other Celtic transfer news, Football Insider reveals why Celtic have been given renewed hope in their bid to sign this club favourite.