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DEFENDER HEADS FOR HOOPS

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HATEM ABD ELHAMED is on his way to Celtic, as CQN reported 12 days ago.

Israeli outfit Hapoel Be’er Sheva have confirmed the 27-year-old right-back is poised to join the Hoops in a £1.6million switch.

The international defender has been on Neil Lennon’s radar throughout the summer as he continued his search for a new No.2 after Mikael Lustig, Christian Gamboa and Jeremy Toljan left the club at the end of the season.

Previous targets Tommy Smith, who joined Stoke City from Huddersfield, and Jack Stacy, who moved from Luton to Bournemouth, left the Irishman with a problem for the opening Champions League qualifiers against FK Sarajevo with Kristoffer Ajer moving out of central defence to play in the wide right defensive position with Scotland Under-21 prospect Anthony Ralston on the substitutes’ bench.

The imminent arrival of Abd Elhamed will bring Lennon’s summer spending to £12million following the arrivals of centre-half Christopher Jullien, £7million from Toulouse, left-back Boli Bolingola, £3million Rapid Vienna, and midfielder Luca Connell, £350,000 Bolton.

Alona Barkat, owner of the Israeli club, admitted a £1.6million deal has been agreed with the eight-in-a-row champions.

According to a report in the Scottish Sun, she admitted: “What I have said to Hatem will remain private between us. But I am the owner of a proud club that our player is going to play in a great team like Celtic.

“We are honoured and wish that all of our players fulfil their dreams.”

Abd Elhamed is likely to seal a four-year contract within the next 48 hours.

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