Celtic will have to splash cash for Henriksen

CELTIC will have to dig deep if they want to finally land Norwegian star Markus Henriksen.

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Markus Henriksen would cost Celtic £2million-plus

AZ Alkmaar do not currently have room for him in their team, but boss Dick Advocaat is not about to do Celtic - or any other interested clubs - any favours by cutting him loose for a knockdown price as he still has more than three years of his contract to run.

Bidding for the midfielder - who can play defensively, in attack, or as a box-to-box runner - would have to start at more than £2million, which would net the Dutch outfit a tidy profit on the £1.75m he cost them last year.

Neil Lennon has been a huge admirer of the 21-year-old since he was the star figure in the Rosenborg side where, as a teenager, the local hero first burst on to the radar of clubs around Europe. The Hoops were already hot on Henriksen's trail in January, 2012, but Club Brugge struck a £1.75million deal to take him from the Norwegian side to Belgium.

However, having left Rosenborg's winter training camp in southern Spain to speak to Brugge officials, Henriksen shocked everyone in Norway by declaring he was not prepared to make the move.

By then, the January window was closing, and Celtic had no time to progress their interest.

After making contact with Rosenborg, they were ready to press the button on a bid in August last year.

But, as they waited to confirm their place in the Champions League Group Stage, Lennon could only look on with frustration as AZ Alkmaar stepped in.

His early form, as the 6ft 2in Norwegian international established himself as a regular starter in the AZ side which won the Dutch Cup, indicated it would be a move which would benefit both parties.

But the arrival of Advocaat has seen Henriksen struggle to hold down a starting place, though it does not appear to have affected the valuation the club have placed on him.

Lennon had hoped to make an assessment of Henriksen's current form when he travelled to Holland to watch Alkmaar play Heerenveen in the Dutch Cup last week.

But, while other possible targets, strikers Alfred Finnbogason and Aron Johannsson, did get the chance to impress the Hoops boss, Henriksen was never asked to leave the Alkmaar bench.

With the future of Joe Ledley as a Celtic player in doubt as he prepares to enter the final six months of his contract, Lennon is compiling a list of possible targets for the transfer window which opens a week tomorrow.

Dundee United's Stuart Armstrong is also reported to be under consideration, and Celtic are expected to make their move for the men they want quickly.


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                Janice Bell                

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