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HOWE TARGETS CAPTAIN COOK

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EDDIE HOWE is waiting for the green light to be named Celtic manager within the next few days.

Neil Lennon’s successor is already reported to be putting in place transfer plans for the new season as reshapes the playing squad.

And his former Bournemouth captain Steve Cook is likely to emerge as one of his key summer targets, according to the Scottish Sun on Sunday.

The boss and the stalwart central defender were together during the south coast club’s incredible journey from the third tier to the top flight of English football – and the pair could be reunited again at Parkhead.

Twenty-nine-year-old Cook, who has been at the Vitality Stadium for over 10 years and has played almost 400 games for the club, will be available as a free agent when his contract expires at the end of the campaign.

Davie Moyes eyed him as a possible recruit for West Ham before the transfer window closed in October, but the player elected to stay at Bournemouth to try to help them to a quickfire return to the Premier League after the previous term’s relegation.

STRUGGLING…Christopher Jullien could be out until October with his knee problem.

Bournemouth are currently just outside the Championship play-off zone and the word from across the border is that Cook could now be on his way if they fail to return to the elite division.

Howe acknowledges the fact the Hoops face a summer of upheaval as the squad will undergo a transformation with players such as Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer, Ryan Christie and Olivier Ntcham all linked with moves away as they prepare to go into the final year of their contracts.

Versatile Israel international Nir Bitton has also been mentioned with a switch back to his homeland with Maccabi Tel Aviv monitoring his situation. His fellow-countryman Hatem Abd Elhamed quit the club to rejoin Hapoel Be’er Sheva in January.

Inspirational skipper Scott Brown, who will turn 36 in June, has already agreed to join Aberdeen as player/coach on a two-year deal.

Christopher Jullien could be out until October with the knee injury he sustained in a clash against a post in the 3-0 win over Dundee United on December 30.

That would leave rookie Stephen Welsh as the Hoops’ only recognised centre-back.

Howe is aware of the urgent requirement of another defender in the middle of the rearguard which could rubberstamp his move for his ex-skipper.

THREE CHEERS! QUICKFIRE CELTS ON TARGET

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