REPUBLIC OF IRELAND centre-back Shane Duffy has discussed a season-long loan deal with Celtic, according to a report.

The rugged 28-year-old defender has been in talks with Neil Lennon as the Hoops boss attempts to strengthen his rearguard and add options following the departure of Jozo Simunovic at the end of his contract in June.

The champions, bidding for a historic tenth successive title, uregently need cover for Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer in the centre of the backline and neither the Frenchman nor the Norwegian looked impressive in the 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock at Rugby Park at the weekend.

Brendan Rodgers was keen to sign Cetic fan Duffy in 2016, but missed out when the Derry-born ace quit Blackburn Rovers in a £4million deal for Brighton.

Now Lennon has switched his attention back to the no-nonsense back-four performer, but will have competition from West Ham, West Brom and Burnley, according to the Daily Mail.

The Parkhead club are close to securing a £5million move for Hammers striker Albian Ajeti after the Swiss international flew into Glasgow yesterday for a medical and a sightseeing tour of Celtic Park and Lennoxtown, as CQN reported.

Lennon knows the requirements for the team in what he has termed a “monumental” season and Duffy, who has three years to run on his Brighton contract, is on the radar.

However, there will be a lot of negotiating ahead with the clubs attempting to find a financial compromise over a loan fee and wages.

Duffy made 19 appearances for the top-flight side last term, but has slipped behind Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster in gaffer Graham Potter’s pecking order.

Dutch international Joel Veltman has also joined from Ajax which could open the way for Duffy to fulfil his dream of playing for his boyhood heroes.

West Ham boss David Moyes worked with the player at Everton, but is restricted by a tight budget.

Newly-promoted West Brom are eager to pay a sizeable fee to take the centre-back to the Hawthorns on a four-year deal.

Duffy’s preferred option would be a move to Scotland’s title kings.

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