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Gary Hooper Photo by: Google Images

Sports Digest - Scotland striker Gary Hooper eyed by the Premier League

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Gary Hooper Photo by: Google Images

Reports in Scotland say that star striker Gary Hooper has turned down a new contract offer from Glasgow Celtic and could be off to the Premier League before the transfer window closes next week.

Norwich City have already had an $8 million bid for Hooper turned down by Celtic boss Neil Lennon.

English-born Hooper scored twice last weekend as Celtic beat Hearts 4-1 in the first game after the Scottish League’s winter break.

And Celtic assistant manager Johan Mjallby has admitted that Burnley striker Charlie Austin is being looked at as a potential replacement for Hooper.

Mjallby said on Monday, “The situation hasn’t changed at all since Saturday. We don’t want Gary Hooper to leave. I think he is very happy here. He put in a great performance the other day.

“He is enjoying his football, he is enjoying playing for Celtic and enjoying his team-mates. Not only his goals at the weekend, but his general performance was very, very good.

“The only bid has been from Norwich but we expect there are going to be offers for our best players anyway. That’s the way it is in this climate.”

Lennon also paid tribute to Hooper after the win over Hearts.

“I thought Gary was brilliant, he was at his best. He got two goals, but I think his all-round game was top class,” he said.

“We had a chat last night after speaking to his representatives and we wanted to make our position clear to him and he is quite comfortable with it all.

“We have made it clear that we are not selling him, we don’t want him to go, especially at this juncture of the season. However, everyone has their price and what Gary’s price is will be down to the board and myself to decide.

“What we were offered on Thursday was nowhere near our valuation of the player.  We don’t have a set figure, however, goal scorers are at a premium and Gary is a goal scorer so we will set the bar pretty high for him.”

Mjallby also confirmed that the 6’2” Austin is a potential target.

The Celtic coach added, “He might be on the shortlist. Charlie is a proven goal scorer and he might come in handy in the future.

“But right now we think Gary will stay on, at least until the summer, and that will be great for the club.

“We want to keep him because he is improving and making the team better. Gary has proven to be the best goal scorer for us so that’s one of the reasons we want to keep him.”

Celtic have secured a work permit for Australian midfielder Tom Rogic after his arrival from Central Coast Mariners.

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