DAVIE HAY: Thanks for the memories Bhoys

JUDGING by the noises which are emanating from Celtic Park, I think both Joe Ledley and Georgios Samaras are set to move on.

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Alfred Finnbogason, left, is a target for Lennon after the striker has turned in star performances for Heerenveen
Alfred Finnbogason, left, is a target for Lennon after the striker has turned in star performances for Heerenveen

The pair have so far failed to sign extensions to their current contracts and are being increasingly linked with moves away to other clubs.

I think the key question now is: "Do they go in January when Celtic can get some money from them or do they move on for nothing in the summer?"

Personally, I think the latter is far more likely to happen. Georgios Samaras will be playing at the World Cup in Brazil with Greece next summer and I suspect he will wait until after that to decide on his future.

That is a great stage for him to showcase his talents on. Having a good tournament in South America could lead to him moving to a big club in one of the major leagues in Europe.

Samaras has been linked with moves to Hull City in the Barclays Premier League, Lazio in Serie A and even Barcelona in La Liga in recent weeks.

Ledley, meanwhile, is reported to caught the attention of his former club Cardiff City.

If the Welsh club wait until the end of the 2013/14 campaign it will not require a transfer fee to secure his services.

Of course, if a Premier League or a Championship club down in England is in dire need of a midfielder or a striker - to boost their chances of survival or promotion next month - and they make a decent offer then they could be sold.

No matter which clubs come in for the duo, one thing is absolutely certain. Celtic will be unable to compete financially with the wages they will be offered.

It may, then, be time just to thanks to both Ledley and Samaras for the service they have given the Glasgow club and wish them well for the future wherever they go.

Ledley has been steady if not sensational in his three-and-a-half years in Scotland. Samaras, meanwhile, has sometimes caught the eye and sometimes not.

He has been a good weapon for Celtic in Europe in the last couple of seasons. But, like many of his team-mates, he faded in the Champions League group stage this season.

He enjoyed possibly one of his best games for the club in the match against Barcelona at Parkhead. But in the last few games against Ajax away, AC Milan at home and Barca away, he was not at his best.

I think he is generally liked by Celtic supporters. After struggling to convince both domestically and in Europe early on in his time in this country, he has won them over.

Neil Lennon has needed to sign a creative midfielder and a striker for some time.

The need to bring in those kinds of players will simply increase if Ledley and Samaras move on. But the departure of his players will not come as a surprise to him.

He will have been working away behind the scenes identifying targets who can bolster his squad. He has brought in Holmburt Fridjonsson, albeit for just £100,000, this week.

Lennon was at the KNVB Cup match between Heerenveen and AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands on Wednesday night. Both Alfred Finnbogason and Aron Johannesson were involved in the game.

Whether Celtic get money for Ledley or Samaras or not, their salaries will come off the club wage bill so that will free up some money to bring in more players with.

The manager needs, with the help of the scouting network at Celtic, to bring in good acquisitions who have a sell-on value.

They have done that very successfully in the past and can do again. Because of the disappointment of failing to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League after making it last year, some supporters would like to see more money being spent on players.

But should Celtic be expected to make it through to the knockout stages every season? It is very difficult.

Especially with the sums of money their rivals in Europe have to spend on players. AC Milan and Barcelona have far greater budgets at their disposal.

To change the wage structure at Celtic would be an extreme gamble and, with no guarantee that the team will even make it through to the group stage, it could be hard to speculate to accumulate.


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