Gimme five, says Celtic boss Neil Lennon

NEIL LENNON is planning another overhaul of his squad this summer - with as many as five positions in line to be strengthened.

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Neil Lennon is planning an overhaul of his Celtic squad
Neil Lennon is planning an overhaul of his Celtic squad

The Celtic boss oversaw several changes of personnel at the end of the last campaign, most significantly losing Gary Hooper, Victor Wanyama and Kelvin Wilson.

The Hoops recruited half a dozen men, including Virgil van Dijk, and then added Stefan Johansen and Leigh Griffiths in January.

But, Lennon is already planning to go to market again, and is ready to buy in bulk.

He is also ready to sit down with Georgios Samaras over the next week to see if the Greek international is definitely moving when his contract ends in July.

Lennon also recognises Van Dijk and Fraser Forster could attract significant offers.

But irrespective of who leaves, the Hoops boss is aiming to forge ahead with his fresh recruitment drive. He revealed that, despite the success of Griffiths, another striker is still top of the list. But Lennon described as "just wild speculation at the minute" reports from Federico Macheda's agent the club had shown definite interest in the 22-year-old forward, who is coming to the end of his contract with Manchester United.

The Parkhead boss and his scouting team have identified their targets, and he said: "We have an extensive list of players we are looking at.

"We're certainly looking at four or five positions.

"Striker is always a priority, but, at the minute we have very good players in that position."

Lennon does not want to build up false hope among fans, and added: "Possibly it might be an average transaction period, but you go in with an idea of what you want.

"Whether you get it is another thing.

"We were more stable last year, but we're working on strengthening the squad going into next year.

"I don't want people assuming they are going to play every week."

This will be Lennon's fifth summer transfer window, and he reckons he is coming to terms with what is required.

"You look at last season, and I thought there was a lot of upheaval when we lost three boys in the space of a week to 10 days," he reflected.

"That was a difficult period because we were in the middle of the qualifiers and you couldn't play them as you didn't know what frame of mind they were in.

"It may be a little bit less fraught than it seems, and we'll try and do our business as quickly as possible," he explained, mindful of the fact the Champions League qualifiers start for them in mid-July.

Lennon wants to offer every player already at the club the opportunity to stake a claim for a place in his plans for the future. That includes more kids like 17-year-old Liam Henderson, who has forced his way into the starting XI.

But Derk Boerrigter's struggle to make any real impact in his debut season has now been exacerbated by a stomach muscle injury.

The Dutchman has gone public with his frustration at the lack of game time, but Lennon has no problem with that.

He said: "I saw the interview, and I'm quite comfortable with everything he said. He was not having a pop at me.

"He is pretty happy here, he's just frustrated his injuries have taken their toll on his flow of games."

Football

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