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HOOPS EYE PANTIC

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RONNY DEILA has had a close-up look at £1.4million-rated Serbian centre-half Aleksandar Pantic.

The Celtic boss flew to Spain to run the rule over the 23-year-old back-four operator in Eibar’s 4-0 La Liga win away to Real Betis at the weekend.

The defender is on loan at the minnows from Villarreal and is out of contract at the end of the season.

Pantic moved to La Liga from Red Star Belgrade in the summer of 2013, signing a three-year deal, but has failed to hold down a permanent place.

After a season with Cordoba, he has a similar temporary agreement with Eibar.

Now Deila, desperate for defensive cover in the heart of the rearguard, is pondering making a move to partner Croat Jozo Simunovic, who arrived from Dinamo Zagreb in summer.

Simonovic has teamed up with Dedryck Boyata in recent games, but the Norwegian has not been totally satisfied it is a combination that blends.

Last season’s success was built on the solid understanding between Virgil van Dijk and Jason Denayer, but, of course, both quit the Hoops in the summer.

It has left Deila with a headache and it could be 6ft-plus Pantic could provide the answer with a crucial chapter of the campaign coming up.

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