CELTIC must decide if they will make a third attempt to sign Leigh Griffiths – or use the final three days of the transfer window to try and bring in another striker.
Wolves have rejected an improved bid from the Hoops. And, though the clubs are still talking, the gap between their valuation and what the Scottish champions are offering remains significant.
Reports from England claim the League One side want £1million for the 23-year-old, who was again an unused sub as they won 3-0 at Oldham last night.
Celtic are understood to have offered half of that figure, with the potential for the fee to rise to £750,000.
Wolves boss Kenny Jackett said: “I was prepared to use him, even though there was further dialogue and perhaps another bid. The chairman and chief executive have been handling that side of it, and there will be a valuation for a player who is a very good goalscorer and a full international.”
Jackett insisted he is in no rush to move Griffiths out and continued: “We want to build up a good, strong group of strikers, and we know and understand where Leigh is with it. As he has stated, he has children up in Scotland, and that’s a big factor. But he’s been as good as gold with us, and with me, and he’s a good team-mate.”
Asked if he expects Griffiths to be a Wolves player when the window closes, Jackett replied: “I don’t know. It does seem Celtic are very interested and their manager’s comments seem to give him very high praise.”
Celtic are also again being linked with Norwich’s Robert Snodgrass after the Scotland international became involved in a heated exchange with Canaries fans during their goalless draw with Newcastle last night.
The midfielder appeared to take exception to criticism for his delivery of corners, but at the end of the match went over to the fans and applauded them.
Lennon will remain in constant contact with chief executive Peter Lawwell until the transfer window closes on Friday night. But, while he is eager to see deals done to bring more players in, the Hoops boss has also issued a ‘Hands-off-my-big-Bhoys’ warning.
Georgios Samaras and Joe Ledley could be allowed to leave if they refuse to accept new contracts at the club and offers deemed suitable to Celtic materialise.
However, Lennon is adamant the No Sale sign will be shown to anyone who comes calling for the sought after Virgil van Dijk, Fraser Forster or Emilio Izaguirre.
Despite Arsenal and Manchester City reported to be prepared to pay £10million for Van Dijk, and with Everton tracking Izaguirre, Lennon was relieved to be able to confirm no-one has tested the club’s resolve.
He said: “I’m very pleased there have been no offers. But, I’d like to make it as plain as possible these players are not for sale. We don’t need to sell, and we don’t really want to sell.”
Lennon is realistic enough to accept that, if an enormous offer is received, the club would be compelled to consider it.
But, having lost the spine of his side last summer when Kelvin Wilson, Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper were sold for a combined fee of over £20m, Lennon believes the club should be in a position to resist a second serious raid of their top talent.
The Hoops have also banked another £15m for reaching the Champions League Group Stage again this season, and Lennon wants to strengthen, not weaken his squad with a view to negotiating the qualifiers and play-offs in July and August.
Lennon said: “It’s the ideal scenario to get players in now, but you are not always going to get that. If we can’t finalise the business we want to do in January, then we will look again in the summer.”
Lennon will turn his full attention back to matters on the field tonight when his side play Kilmarnock in the first of four home games.
James Forrest is set to return, but Anthony Stokes is still suspended.
Meanwhile, Celtic have protested to the SPFL after their home fixture against St Johnstone, scheduled for 3pm on Saturday, February 15, was pushed back to the following day with a 12.45pm kick-off.
The switch was made because the match will now be screened live by Sky Sports, but the short notice has upset the club and their fans.
Celtic’s league game against Hearts at Tynecastle on February 22 has also been subject to amendment, with the kick off brought forward from 3pm to 12.45pm.