FORMER Celtic target Shane Long will be up for grabs for FREE in the summer.
The 33-year-old Republic of Ireland striker, who was strongly linked with the Hoops during Brendan Rodgers’ reign and was even on Neil Lennon’s radar in 2011, is due to come out of contract at Southampton in July.
Long is just one of the players who will be looking for new clubs once the uncertainty clears following the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
He scored just twice in 19 appearances for the south coast outfit before the season’s abrupt closure and it looks as though he will not be offered a new deal by manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Lennon, of course, has the Premier League club’s Fraser Forster and Mohamed Elyounoussi already on loan at the champions until the summer.
Long could come back on the Parkhead side’s radar while Scotland’s title kings brace themselves for a big-money offer for 28-goal hit man Odsonne Edouard who still has two years to run on his contract with the club eager to persuade the French Under-21 star to sign an extension.
Lennon, though, realises he is short of back-up in the attack-leader role with only 29-year-old comeback Bhoy Leigh Griffiths a tried and trusted goalscorer at the top level.
Patryk Klimala, the side’s £3.5million buy in the January transfer window, and Vakoun Issouf Bayo, purchased for £2million the previous year, still have to prove themselves, although, to be fair, the Pole has rarely featured since his arrival.
Despite the shutdown, Lennon is looking at signing options to make sure Celtic hit the ground running when football resumes.
Winger Jordon Ibe, Bournemouth’s £16million signing from Liverpool in 2016, has made only four appearances this season and he, too, can walk for nothing in three months’ time.
The pacy raider was named as a possibility in January, but the transfer window closed before a deal could be done.
Old Hoops’ favourite Artur Boruc, now 40, will also be leaving the club on a free transfer.
Another former idol of the fans, Israeli midfielder Beram Kayal, 31, who has been on loan at Championship Charlton, is likely to leave Charlton.