BRENDAN RODGERS will this week step up his move for Shane Duffy as he attempts to solve Celtic’s central defensive problems – a bid revealed exclusively by CQN yesterday.
The Blackburn Rovers centre-half was dramatically sent off in the Republic of Ireland’s 2-1 defeat against France this afternoon.
And the Euro 2016 Finals exit will trigger the new Hoops boss’ urgent bid for the rugged, no-nonsense 24-year-old defender.
Rodgers wants to get the business down as swiftly as possible when the transfer window opens on Friday
Jozo Simunovic and Dedryck Boyata will miss the Champions League qualifiers and out-of-contract Charlie Mulgrew is stalling on agreeing a two-year extension.
The versatile Efe Ambrose could be absent, too, as he prepares with Nigeria for the Rio Olympics.
And that will leave Rodgers with a massive headache and Danish international Erik Sviatchchenko as his only recognised central defender as he leads his squad to Slovenia today to get ready for the assault on the European and domestic fronts.
Martin O’Neill handed 6ft-plus Derry-born Duffy his competitive international debut in the Irish side’s sensational 1-0 win over Italy in Lille on Wednesday. However, his second appearance ended with a red card following a last-ditch foul on France’s two-goal striker Antoine Griezmann in Lyon.
The player, 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.
Duffy has made a remarkable comeback six years after almost losing his life when he ruptured the blood supply to his liver after a training-ground collision with a team-mate while on international duty.
Rodgers has also been linked with his former Liverpool defender Kolo Toure who is up for grabs 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 could offer a one-year contract to be reunited with Toure who is considering offers worldwide, but is believed to favour remaining in the UK if he gets the right type of offer. Working again with Rodgers is likely to appeal to the veteran defender.