Celtic on offensive in striker search

NEIL LENNON has cast the net wide and now he's ready to reel in a big-money striker to lead Celtic's Champions League assault.

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  • Neil Lennon will sit down with chief executive Peter Lawwell next week
    Neil Lennon will sit down with chief executive Peter Lawwell next week
  • Neil Lennon will sit down with chief executive Peter Lawwell next week

Georgios Samaras bring down the curtain on his six year Parkhead career after Sunday's SPFL Premiership finale against Dundee United while the Hoops boss reckons his side are still light in attack despite the arrival of Scotland international striker Leigh Griffiths.

Now Lennon has made a hired gun a priority and Celtic are moving into position to get their man.

He said: "I have not had the opportunity to sit down with Peter (Lawwell) yet but I will go and sit down with him next week and we will talk personnel. We are looking at players, but I haven't pushed the button as yet, on any. Centre-forward is the priority. They cost money and they are hard to find and when you do get one they give you comfort.

"The money is there but it has to be a good player with a resaleable value on him, but the reality of it is that these quality of players tend to go elsewhere. If you are talking about a £5million striker you would expect him to hit the ground running."

Lennon added: "We are going to lose Samaras, who is proven at that level, so I am hoping we can find a player to replace him. So whether it is a centre-forward or a player who is similar to Samaras, well we are looking."

The Celtic coach has been linked with a raid south of the border to bring back former top scorer Gary Hooper from Norwich with the Bhoys' hopes likely to be boosted if, as seems likely, the Canaries are relegated from the Premiership.

But although the Hoops gaffer admitted he rates Hooper very highly, Lennon feels Celtic may struggle to prise him free from the East Anglian outfit.

Lenny said: "It would be nice to have him back but I think it would be a long way off on that I would imagine. I would reckon that (Hooper speculation) will rumble on but whether we could tempt him back or not I don't know. I don't like to talk about a player at another club but we think very highly of Gary."

Lennon is also adamant that he is already well down the line with planning for next term's Champions League qualification campaign while CVs have been submitted to fill the vacancy as his No.2 caused by Johan Mjalby's impending summer departure.

The Parkhead boss said; "If I am linked with other jobs then that is flattering but I am concentrating on what I am doing at Celtic.

"Champions League takes up your full focus and even on your holidays you think about the qualifiers. I really hope we don't have to go through what we did last year with three crown jewels in Hooper, Wanyama and Wilson going."

Lenny added: "I will sit down with Peter (Lawwell) after the season on the No.2 thing and already we have had CVs fired in but we are a bit off that yet."


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