Man United ace Powell a no go for Celtic

CELTIC have virtually resigned themselves to missing out on signing target Nick Powell.

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Powell is currently Wigan's top scorer this season after being put out on loan
Powell is currently Wigan's top scorer this season after being put out on loan

Hoops boss Neil Lennon has been monitoring the Manchester United attacking-midfielder/striker - currently on loan at Wigan - for several months.

He had his latest look at the 20-year-old in last weekend's FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal, when Powell was a second-half sub.

However, follow-up enquiries are understood to have hit a brick wall. United plan to bring the player back at the end of his loan spell and David Moyes has no wish to let him leave again.

The other major obstacle which Celtic foresaw when they started tracking Powell - Wigan's top scorer this season - is funding the wage package for the man who was transferred in a deal worth potentially £6million from Crewe to United in the summer 2012.

However, Celtic do not expect to even get the chance to try to negotiate with the player and his representatives because of United's firm stance on his departure. As usual, Lennon has more than one option for this position, and Robert Snodgrass remains a strong candidate to realise his dream of moving to the Hoops.

Norwich's precarious position at the bottom end of the Barclays Premier League is opening the door to an easier exit for the Scot, who is about to enter the final year of his contract.

Snodgrass, who scored yesterday against Liverpool, was the subject of a tentative enquiry in January, but the price was around £6m - £1.5m more than the Hoops wanted to pay.

A striker, nevertheless, remains top of his shopping list, along with an attacking midfielder, a central defender and a full-back.

Celtic are focusing their search in the English Championship, but have also spent time on mainland Europe, with at least one player in France of particular interest at the moment.

"We have options on looking at players," said Lennon. "There will be players leaving and they have to be replaced."

Lennon is still awaiting confirmation from Georgios Samaras that he will leave when his contract runs out in a few weeks.

The Greek made it two goals in two matches in Saturday's 3-3 draw with Motherwell as Lennon kept his pledge that he would not be frozen out, but given the games he needs to ensure he goes to the World Cup match fit.

The wages which will be released if and when Samaras goes -plus any more freed up by other departures - will be diverted to funding new signings.


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