BUNDESLIGA giants Bayer Leverkusen are poised to splash £1.5million on Celtic defender Efe Ambrose.
The Nigerian international is not expected to be involved in the Hoops’ long-term plans, but Brendan Rodgers already has central defensive problems with Jozo Simunovic and Dedryck Boyata out of next week’s Champions League qualifiers against either Flora Tallin or Lincoln Red Imps.
Ambrose, 27, has remained in Scotland while the Parkhead squad have prepared for the new season at their Slovenia HQ as he has been unable to sort out his visa with the Nigerian authorities.
Rodgers is hoping to get the player to join his team-mates before the games against Ljublana and Maribor this week but Bayern could force a change in plan.
However Ambrose is rumoured to be surplus to requirements as is fellow defended Dedryck Boyata as Rodgers continues with his rebuilding job at Celtic Park.
The Irishman is targeting a new defender and has been linked with his former Liverpool anchorman Kolo Toure, 35, who has been released by the Anfield side.
Another of his former players, Queens Park Rangers’ Steven Caulker, a centre-half he had on loan at Swansea from Spurs, has also been mentioned.
Blackburn Rovers’ Republic of Ireland centre-back Shane Duffy is remains another strong possibility.
The Hoops may lose Ambrose, but were boosted after skipper Scott Brown declared himself fit for the qualifiers.
The captain returned for the final 30 minutes of last night’s 1-0 win over the Austrians of Stum Graz having sat out some of pre-season with a thigh problem.
Brown, who missed the run-in to the previous campaign, came through unscathed and Rodgers admitted he is thrilled to have the midfielder on board for the crucial qualifiers.
He said: “Scott is such a positive influence on the team and he is a really good guy. I’ve only worked with him for a short time, but he’s a wonderful fella.
“He has great respect within the group, he carried out the instructions and he’s a mature guy. Scott is keen to improve his game and has been working hard, so it was the right time to throw him in.
“Like the others, Scott is way off being fully fit, but it was good to get him in the team. He has a real captain’s influence and we shall see if he can start the first European game.”
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