31 Jan Possible ins and out in Scotland
Celtic could face decisions on several players ahead of tonight’s transfer deadline.
The Scottish champions have already rebuffed attempts by Chelsea to sign goalkeeper Craig Gordon, and reports claim the Premier League leaders are considering testing Celtic’s resolve over top goalscorer Moussa Dembele with a possible bid of more than £30million.
Danish defender Erik Sviatchenko’s agent appears to have flown to Scotland for talks with Celtic following interest in his player from England, while previous reports stated that Jozo Simunovic had emerged as a target for several English clubs.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers declared categorically on Monday that Gordon would be staying at Parkhead and has consistently stated that 20-year-old Dembele, who joined from Fulham for a £500,000 compensation fee six months ago, will not be available in this transfer window.
Reports in Africa have also claimed Celtic bid about £1million for KAS Eupen’s Nigerian striker Henry Onyekuru, but Rodgers is not expecting any incoming transfers to add to his early January capture of Eboue Kouassi.
Striker Nadir Ciftci could head out on loan after failing to make the squad on Sunday despite injuries to Dembele and Leigh Griffiths.
And out-of-favour defender Efe Ambrose has hinted he might be on the move. He told www.owngoalnigeria.com: “I’m not joining Hibernian but I know where I am going soon. You guys should be patient. Very soon it will be public knowledge.”
Rangers could have finished their business after completing the signing of Port Vale goalkeeper Jak Alnwick in a £250,000 deal on Monday. The departure of Matt Gilks is expected to be confirmed, but reported target Reece Oxford now looks set for a loan move to Reading.
Aberdeen are looking to sign another player and have rejected a third bid from Cardiff for Jonny Hayes. The reported £600,000 offer falls well below their valuation. Norwich midfielder James Maddison confirmed on Monday he would not be returning for another loan spell.
Inverness are still looking for two new players and are reported to have targeted former Caley Thistle striker Billy McKay. The Northern Ireland international is on a season-long loan from Wigan to Oldham but the League One club have recently appointed a new manager, John Sheridan, who took over from former Motherwell assistant boss Stephen Robinson. McKay has netted four goals this season, all of them in cup competitions.
Hearts took their January signings to nine with a hat-trick of deals on Monday, adding former St Mirren forward Esmael Goncalves to the Greek pair of Tasos Avlonitis and Alexandros Tziolis.
Hamilton also signed a Greek player, former PAOK Salonika right-back Giannis Skondras, who joins left-back Blair Adams in arriving at the SuperSeal Stadium in recent days. Manager Martin Canning is still looking for a forward before tonight’s deadline.
Partick Thistle, Motherwell and Dundee are all in the hunt for more additions with the Lanarkshire club’s pursuit of Stephen Pearson possibly going beyond the deadline.
Kilmarnock could spend some of their £750,000 Souleymane Coulibaly windfall on bringing in attacking reinforcements.
Ross County appear to have done all of their business while St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright confirmed there would be no transfer-deadline action in Perth.
Ladbrokes Championship leaders Hibernian are also looking for reinforcements but look to have failed in their attempts to re-sign Kris Commons from Celtic after Rodgers said he had a back problem. Hibs have reportedly made a bid to re-sign Anthony Stokes on loan from Blackburn. The Irishman has not started a first-team game since August.
Hearts head coach Ian Cathro does not expect to do any further business after his hectic January window.
The rookie Jambos boss has endured a difficult start to his Tynecastle career, winning just two of his eight games in charge, but he believes his additions will make his side stronger.
“What’s important to address when we are discussing the new players who are joining us is that the squad has become more balanced, become stronger and has more options,” he said.
“After that it is what we do on the pitch which will determine how good the team is.
“Irrespective of whether we made changes or not, the challenges facing the team over the next few games would be the same.
“But I go back to what I said before – we are now in a stronger position with the balance of our group.
“Therefore the challenges are more comfortable, as they are ones we are better fitted to.
“Without having done the work we’ve done, we’d be in a weaker position. So we have strengthened, we have more people, more quality, more experience. With that we have more fight, so we have to be better.”