CELTIC are poised to shell out £2million to Blackburn Rovers for Republic of Ireland international centre-half Shane Duffy – a move revealed on CQN back on June 25!
The towering defender, a lifelong Hoops fan, is understood to be interesting top-flight English clubs, but would jump at the chance of joining Brendan Rodgers’ Revolution at the five-in-a-row champions.
Duffy, 24, could solve the new Parkhead gaffer’s biggest problem as he prepares the team for next week’s Champions League qualifier first leg against Lincoln Red Imps in Gibraltar.
Croatian Under-21 international Jozo Simunovic, a £3.5million signing from Dinamo Zagreb just under a year ago, and Dedryck Boyata, who also arrived in the summer on a £1million deal with Manchester City, are both injured and will miss the start of the campaign.
Out-of-contract deputy skipper Charlie Mulgrew is still swithering on a two-year extension with the option of another 12 months.
Rodgers started the first friendly against NK Celje last Thursday with Erik Sviatchenko and Kristoffer Ajer, normally a midfielder, in his central defence. They were replaced at the interval by youngsters Jamie McCart and Eoghan O’Connell and they kept their place for the first-half against Sturm Graz in Austria on Sunday before Sviatchenko and Ajer returned after the break.
Last night, Rodgers kept faith with the Danish international and Efe Ambrose, who was allowed to join the tour after sorting out his visa problems. throughout the 2-1 win over Slovenian champions Olimpija.
However, he knows he needs cover in a crucial position and is stepping up his efforts to land Duffy.
Ex-Celtic gaffer Martin O’Neill handed the 6ft-plus Derry-born defender his competitive international debut in the Irish side’s sensational 1-0 win over Italy in the European Championships in France. However, he was sent off in the next game, the 2-1 loss against the host nation.
Duffy, who took over from John O’Shea after the 3-0 loss against Belgium, is a product of Everton’s Academy system and has spent spells on loan with Burnley, Scunthorpe and Yeovil.
He quit the Goodison outfit in 2014 after making only 10 first team appearances and agreed a three-year deal at Ewood Park.
Rodgers, of course, has also confirmed his interest in his former Liverpool defender Kolo Toure who is a free agent after being released by the Anfield outfit.
The 35-year-old Ivorian international, who cost Manchester City £14million when they signed him from Arsenal in July 2009, joined the Irishman on a free transfer at the Merseyside outfit four years later. Rodgers is prepared to offer a one-year contract to be reunited with Toure.
But, looking to the long term, Duffy has emerged as his priority target and Rodgers is looking to get the deal done ahead of Celtic’s European qualifier next Tuesday in Gibraltar.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE KINGDOM OF GOVANIA is the new fantasy beach book written by CQN’s Mea Culpa and wonderfully illustrated by Cartuja. Copies started arriving with readers yesterday and Connaire 12 was first to remark on the new book posting:
“Received my copy of In the Kingdom of Govania at 11.15 today. Started reading and could not put it down till the very last page. If you want to be entertained in a hilarious way about things that transpired in Govania do get a copy.
Well done to the authors and artists involved…”
The Zombies are going crazy about this beach book – absolutely foaming at the mouth. You, on the other hand will laugh your socks off!