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CELTIC TARGET’S CRUNCH TALKS

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BELGIAN defender Timothy Castagne – linked with Celtic as CQN reported yesterday – could learn by the weekend whether he will be allowed to leave Serie A outfit Atalanta.

The £5million-rated right-back could be on the Scottish champions’ wanted list in the forthcoming January transfer window.

Castagne is also attracting attention from England and France and has publicly expressed frustration over life in the Italian top flight after failing to win a regular first team place in coach Gian Piero Gasperini’s starting line-up.

The 23-year-old international, who joined from Genk in a £5million switch 18 months ago, played in the 2-2 draw with Juventus on Boxing Day.

The player’s representatives are now attempting to hold talks with the Atalanta hierarchy in an attempt to clarify the future.

Celtic are likely to face a challenge in persuading Castagne to move to Scotland.

He was quoted recently claiming a switch to either the English Premier League or the Bundeliga would be his preference for a next move.

He said: “Germany and England, two competitions where things go forward and there is less tactics than in Italy, are two competitions that attract me.”

Brendan Rodgers got a close-up view of Castagne earlier this season when the player made his Belgian debut in the 4-0 win over Scotland with the Irishman in the Hampden stand that evening.

The Parkhead gaffer is on the look-out for long-term competition for the No.2 slot with Mikael Lustig, 32, poised to come out of contract in the summer although the club hold a 12-month option on his current deal.

Swedish giants AIK Stockholm are monitoring his situation and could offer him the opportunity to end his career in his homeland.

Anthony Ralston has also looked impressive since making his first appearance of the season in the 3-0 win over Motherwell last week where he scored the opening goal.

The 20-year-old also looked sharp and aggressive in the 3-0 victory over Dundee three days later, but Rodgers went for the experience of Lustig in the 4-3 triumph against Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Wednesday.

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