Cash before dash with Lennon wary of Celtic duo exit

NEIL Lennon admits Celtic will look to cash in on Joe Ledley and Georgios Samaras next month - if the pair still haven't agreed new deals.

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Joe Ledley is yet to agree to a new Celtic deal
Joe Ledley is yet to agree to a new Celtic deal

And Lennon has revealed he will be looking to strengthen his Hoops squad by making new signings during the January transfer window.

The Parkhead boss took in the KNVB Cup match between Heerenveen and AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands earlier this week.

He has been linked with Icelandic striker Alfred Finnbogason and Alkmaar hit man Aron Johannsson.

And Lennon has stressed he will be trying to bring in new players despite his team no longer being involved in Europe.

Lennon said: "It's fair to say we were over looking at a couple of players and anything else that caught our eye. It was just an opportunity to get out and watch players. It was okay.

"I'm not saying I'm going to bring either of those two in, but we are looking to bring players here in January for the long-term."

Parkhead first-team stars Ledley and Samaras are out of contract at the end of the 2013/14 campaign and can leave for free then. Lennon stressed that getting money for the midfielder and the striker would be preferable to losing the duo for nothing.

But he has refused to rule out the Welsh and Greek internationals signing new deals and remaining with the Scottish champions beyond the summer.

He said: "I've not yet had any indication from either of them about what they want to do.

"And certainly there's also been no indication from their representatives.

"The longer it goes the more likely it is they'll be leaving. I thought after last season both of them would have wanted to stay. They seem quite happy here.

"But they might have other issues to attend to behind the scenes that we don't know about. It's just part of the game.

"But we need to know one way or the other pretty soon because we'll have to look for replacements if they are going.

"Ideally, we'd do that in January. If they were thinking of running their contracts down then we'd look to move them on in January to avoid that.

"They've been excellent players for Celtic. But we're writing their epitaphs here and it's a little bit premature. You never say never."

Meanwhile, Lennon is bracing himself for right-back Mikael Lustig, who had surgery on a hip problem on Thursday, being out of action for twice as long as was anticipated.

He said: "Mikael's had a double hip operation. It needed a bit more work than first expected and he'll be out for three to four months.

"The procedure was successful. He's had both sides done.

"Originally we thought it would be two to three months. But after the surgeon had a look he felt it necessary to do the other side."

Football

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