Lennon tells Norwich: Hands off Gary Hooper

NEIL LENNON insists Gary Hooper is happy to stay at Celtic after the club knocked back a £5million bid from Norwich City for the striker.

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Neil Lennon says Gary Hooper is happy at Celtic
Neil Lennon says Gary Hooper is happy at Celtic

The Englishman has attracted interest from a number of clubs south of the border, but it is Canaries' boss Chris Hughton who has shown his hand first by making a move for the Parkhead star as he attempts to lure him to the Premiership.

Celtic are still in talks with Hooper's representatives over a new contract to keep him in Glasgow for the long-term, and Lennon says his star man is happy to remain at the club.

He said: "Norwich made a bid and we've rejected it. I'm really annoyed that it's come out down there because we like to do our business privately. I don't like the thought of them trying to unsettle a player.

"Now I'm not going to point any fingers, but it's certainly not come out from up here. We looked at the bid, we rejected it and it's as you were.

"I spoke to his representatives today and we've made our position clear. We've made an offer to them on a new contract and we're waiting to hear from them.

"Norwich's valuation is nowhere near ours. Gary's not unsettled at all. He's very happy here. His take on it is that he wants to stay, he wants to play in the Champions League and he wants to have a go in all the competitions we're still in.

"So, we can't stop bids coming in, we can't stop speculation. But our position is quite strong on this at the moment. We don't want to sell him, and certainly not for the valuation Norwich put in yesterday."

Hooper is not the only Parkhead star to have attracted admiring glances in recent months, but the club are keen to hold on to their most valuable assets as they prepare for a Champions League last 16 clash with Juventus.

And Lennon remains hopeful the striker will commit his future to the club and sign a new deal at Parkhead.

He said: "Everyone has their price. I've maintained that all along. Gary knows what we think of him, the club has made it clear to Norwich that their valuation is not acceptable.

"We're probably going to get it again and it might rumble on. But we've made it clear we don't want to sell him and we're waiting on his representatives getting back to us,.

"That's all I can tell you. I saw his agent here [yesterday] morning. I'm not sure whether [Norwich] will come again or not. They might. But like all bids, we'll digest it and see what's best for the club, rather than anybody else.

"He's playing well, he's happy and we'll see if they come back in and accept our contract offer. It might all be academic.

"If it's not, then if Norwich come again we'll look at it and go from there. But we've made our position clear – we don't want to sell him."

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