CARL STARFELT still has the chance to play against FC Midtjylland on Tuesday – despite Celtic missing last night’s Champions League 11pm transfer deadline.
The Swedish international centre-back remains a £4.2million target for Ange Postecoglou and could be pitched straight into the line-up for the crucial encounter against the Danish league runners-up.
The Hoops have been attempting to speed up the proposed deal, but are still waiting for negotiations to be completed with the player’s Russian club Rubin Kazan, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
It now looks as though any transfer for Starfelt will not be rubberstamped in time for him to face Preston in front of 2,000 fans in the friendly at Parkhead tomorrow.
However, there is the opportunity to add two players to the squad by 11pm on Monday, the day before the first leg with the return due in Denmark eight days later.
That would mean Postecoglou could be faced with the prospect of taking a massive gamble on a recruit in a crucial tie that could lead to the lucrative £40million group stages of Europe’s elite competition.
Kristoffer Ajer has dropped out of the Hoops gaffer’s plans after failing to play a solitary minute of the warm-up games against Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton and Bristol City as he pushes for a move away, despite still having 12 months to run on his contract. The club are now on the brink of accepting an offer from Brentford which will rise to £15million, as CQN reported earlier today.
That is likely to leave the team short of numbers in the middle of the rearguard where Stephen Welsh could team up with makeshift defender Nir Bitton.
Right-back is another priority for Postecoglou and the Parkhead hierarchy have been in talks with French club Rennes over youngsters Sacha Boey and Brandon Soppy.
The future of midfielder Ryan Christie, who is out of contract in January, remains unclear and the Scotland international has attracted interest from Saudi Arabia.
It has been reported champions Al-Hilal are set to offer the Highlander a huge cash incentive in an attempt to persuade him to move to the Middle East.
Christie, who has repeatedly rejected offers to extend his Hoops deal, has also been linked with Southampton and Crystal Palace as well as Ligue 1 sides Monaco and Nice.