Celtic have been told to up their offer for Preston’s Irish World Cup star Sean St. Ledger as manager Tony Mowbray looks to establish a new centre-back partnership at Parkhead.
Mowbray made his first defensive move on Monday when he signed the little known Dutch star Jos Hooiveld from the Swedish side AIK Solna on a three and a half year deal.
Hooisveld, who once failed to impress during a trial spell with Livingstone, cost the Hoops almost $3 million and is a 6’3” no nonsense defender in the Mick McCarthy mold.
St. Ledger is the next part of Mowbray’s planned new defensive partnership, but the Bhoys have been warned they will not get the Irishman on the cheap after the breakdown of a proposed move to Middlesbrough.
Having already turned down a $2 million offer for St. Ledger from Celtic, Preston chairman Derek Shaw told the Scottish Sunday Mail, “Celtic’s offer was way below our valuation. There’s no way we’d accept anything near the figure put to us. We are not being greedy.
“Sean is an established internationalist and players of his caliber come at a price. I know a Championship club that has put a £4 million price tag on a defender who only has six months left on his contract.
“But we understand Sean wants to play at a higher level and has his international career to think of. So the ball is in Celtic’s court.”
As Celtic fans await news on St. Ledger, new arrival Hooiveld believes he can something to the Bhoys title ambitions as they await a return to action following the postponement on Saturday and again on Tuesday night of their Scottish Cup tie with Morton.
He told Celtic’s official website, “Having visited the club and spoken to the manager, I feel this is the right place for me and I am very much looking forward to meeting up with my new team-mates and hopefully playing my part in bringing success to the club and our fans.”
Celtic boss Mowbray added, “We are very pleased to welcome Jos to Celtic. He is a player who we believe can make an important contribution to the club and someone we look forward to working with.”
Celtic have also told Birmingham City that Ireland winger Aiden McGeady is not for sale after slapping a $15 million price tag on their star asset.
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish revealed, “We made an enquiry but we were told he is not for sale. The situation won’t change until someone says he is up for sale.”
Despite that, Celtic are expected to be busy in the transfer market, but young Slovakian striker Milos Lacny has opted to move to Sparta Prague instead of Glasgow.
Players are also expected to leave Parkhead during the January transfer window, with Hertha Berlin keen on defender Andreas Hinkel.
New Middlesbrough boss Gordon Strachan has agreed deals for his former Celtic charges Barry Robson and Gary Caldwell, and also wants Irish midfielder Willo Flood to join him at the championship club.
Meanwhile, former Irish international Owen Coyle has revealed he turned down the chance to manage Celtic in the summer before Mowbray got the job.
Coyle has just caused consternation in the north-east of England by swapping Burnley for his old club Bolton, but claimed the fact he didn’t return to Glasgow six months ago proves he is not motivated by money.
“I’ve never been motivated by money in my life,” said Coyle after he was unveiled as the new Bolton boss on Monday. “If it was about finance then I would have taken the job at Celtic in the summer. That is just a knee-jerk reaction from people that do not know me.
“I have an unbelievable challenge ahead here at this magnificent club, with a magnificent stadium, and I have to take that on. You want to be the best you can be and that’s my motivation.”