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FIVE CHASE CELTIC ACE

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SWANSEA CITY have joined the five-team race for Jonny Hayes who is out of contract at the end of the season.

Premier League Burnley and Championship outfits Stoke City, Cardiff City and Huddersfield have also been linked with Celtic’s Republic of Ireland international star, according to a media report.

The Welsh team have targeted the 32-year-old utility man, but Hoops boss Neil Lennon has made it clear he does not want to lose the player who cost ex-gaffer Brendan Rodgers £1.3million when he joined from Aberdeen in June 2017.

The eight-in-a-row champions are hoping to get him to commit his future to the Parkhead men.

The clock is ticking, though, and the player will be allowed to talk to interested clubs in January and he could also agree a pre-contract in the manner Scott Allan did with Hibs at the turn of the year.

New Stoke manager Michael O’Neill is keen to land Hayes, who started his career at Reading before joining Leicester City in 2007.

He also had loan spells at Northampton and then Cheltenham Town before he headed north to sign for Inverness Caley Thistle in 2009 and Aberdeen three years later.

After five years at Pittodrie, where has was a League Cup winner in 2014, he moved to his boyhood favourites after scoring against them in the Scottish Cup Final before Stuart Armstrong and Tom Rogic replied to win the first of the treble treble.

Hayes has made 16 appearances for Celts this season and scored in September’s 2-0 win at Ibrox.

 

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