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ALFIE DEAL SETBACK

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CELTIC target Alfie Doughty is poised to reject the champions and sign for Stoke City.

The Hoops have been tracking the left-sided midfielder since the summer, but it looks as though they have been beaten in their pursuit of the versatile Charlron star, as CQN warned last week.

Michael O’Neill, the Potteries’ boss, snapped up 33-year-old Scotland international striker Steven Fletcher while the champions delayed a decision after talks with the freed Sheffield Wednesday frontman in the earlier transfer window.

And the ex-Northern Ireland gaffer has staged another signing coup after slapping in a £650,000 offer for Doughty who was in the final six months of his contract at the London club.

The Parkhead men had hoped to land the in-demand 21-year-old on a pre-contract cross-border deal.

However, according to a report in the Glasgow Evening Times, Doughty is expected to agree a switch to Stoke this month.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Hibs this evening – only in your champion CQN.

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