CAMERON CARTER-VICKERS is the focus of a transfer tug-of-war for three top-flight English teams.

Or so we have been informed by an American sports media outlet SBI Soccer.

They tell us Celtic’s USA World Cup centre-back is on the wanted list of Premier League outfits West Ham, Brentford and Nottingham Forest during this month’s window.

We accept this is the silly season with transfer tales ranging from the hilarious to the hysterical doing the rounds with reckless abandonment as desperate clubs attempt to shore up their squads while battling for silverware or fighting for survival.

This, though, is a particularly curious tale. There may well be something in it – or it may have lost something in translation on its way across The Pond.

DOWN AND OUT…Cameron Carter-Vickers realises his game is over as his hamstring problem strikes again early in Celtic’s 3-0 win over Dundee at Dens Park on Boxing Day.

Carter-Vickers, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Hogmanay, has been a fixture in the champions’ central rearguard since his initial season-long loan arrival from Spurs in August 2021.

The Hoops were delighted to meet the £6million option-to-buy fee for the rugged centre-back 12 months later when he agreed a contract until June 2026.

There can be no surprise the consistent displays of the Southend-born back-four operator have attracted attention from envious eyes across the border where he also had SIX temporary transfers to Sheffield United, Ipswich Town, Swansea City, Stoke City, Luton Town and Bournemouth before Parkhead was marked as his next destination on his soccer travels.

What is mystifying is the timing of the report. The Celtic fans’ favourite has missed a chunk of this campaign and has pulled up in two games to force Brendan Rodgers into quick fixes in his back four.

CCV felt a tightness in his hamstring in the second Premiership outing of the season which forced him to sit out the action after the interval in the 3-1 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie on August 13.

He missed seven matches before returning as a 62nd-minute substitute for Nat Phillips in the Champions League encounter with Lazio on October 4.

Alas, it was not a memorable comeback as he lost possession and the Italians broke forward to score a classic sucker-punch winner in the seventh minute of stoppage-time.

WATCHING BRIEF…Cameron Carter-Vickers and Gustaf Lagerbielke view Celtic’s 2-1 derby win from the Parkhead stand on December 30. Roy Keane is also an interested spectator in the row behind the Hoops duo.

The hamstring problem manifested itself for the second time when he had to leave the field early in the second-half of the 3-0 victory over Dundee at Dens Park on Boxing Day.

Stephen Welsh, as he had done against the Dons in the north east four months earlier, took over the centre-back role.

CCV hasn’t been seen since, missing back-to-back Glasgow derbies when the Hoops won for a second time with a breathtaking points-clincher from Kyogo Furuhashi, just as the Japanese striker had done at Ibrox in early September.

Welsh injured a shoulder in the first-half against the Govan club where Maik Nawrocki, the club’s £4.3million buy from Legia Warsaw in the summer, made a rare appearance alongside Liam Scales.

It is unlikely CCV will be risked in Sunday’s Scottish Cup meeting with Buckie Thistle at Parkhead where Rodgers could go again with the Nawrocki-Scales double-act.

With the USA international still to totally convince on the fitness front, it is strange to think West Ham, Nottingham Forest or Brentford would be willing to pay large sums of money for his services.
Mr MOTIVATOR…Cameron Carter-Vickers roars on his Celtic team-mates.
Maybe desperation will overcome fiscal good sense and Davie Moyes, who watched his London team dismissed from the FA Cup by second-tier Bristol City last night, could be forced into a move.
Forest are currently being investigated by the EPL for apparently breaching profit and sustainability rules while Brentford, who signed Kristoffer Ajer from the Hoops in August 2021, are sitting fifth from the bottom of the league and will want a quick fix on someone who will definitely be available for selection every week.
Insurance may also be fairly prohibitive for a player who has broken down twice this season with no guarantees of a prolonged sequence of appearances between now and the completion of the campaign on the Scottish Cup Final on the iconic date of May 25.
The smart money would be on Carter-Vickers patrolling the Celtic back four at Hampden that afternoon.
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