CELTIC boss Ronny Deila is edging closer to signing Manchester City’s Belgian international centre-half Dedryck Boyata.
Chief Executive Peter Lawwell and assistant boss John Collins met the 24-year-old last week and, by all accounts, the defender was impressed by the Hoops deputation.
Boyata is now being lined up to be Deila’s first signing as he prepares for an assault on the Champions League qualifiers in the summer.
The bulk of the champions’ squad will report back for pre-season training on June 22 and the Norwegian wants the new faces to be settled in by then.
Boyata is free to move after agreeing a pay-off with the Etihad giants for the final year of his contract. However, City will insert a sell-on clause ensuring they get a percentage of any future transfer fee.
Deila realises he will have to rebuild his central defence with Jason Denayer almost certainly returning to Manuel Pellegrini’s squad after his impressive season-long loan at Parkhead.
There are also constant rumblings from across the border about Premier League outfits on the brink of making a massive offer for Virgil van Dijk, who has also excelled in the back four during the campaign.
As CQN Magazine revealed last month, Hearts’ Championship-winning skipper Danny Wilson is also high on Deila’s wish-list. Wilson triggered a get-out clause in his Tynecastle contract and, like Boyata, is a free agent.
The five-times capped former Liverpool defender, 23, has options elsewhere, but Parkhead appears to be his likely destination.