ANGE POSTECOGLOU looks like having a major decision to make about Stephen Welsh’s future at Celtic in next month’s transfer window.

The former Scotland Under-21 international captain is a wanted man, according to the Daily Record.

Central defender Welsh is said to be a target for English, Italian and French clubs while Porto have also been linked with the player who is under contract until June 2025.

The versatile back-four operator was on Ligue 1 side Toulouse’s wish list in the summer, but the Hoops were not interested in selling, as CQN reported in July.

TITLE TOPPERS…Stephen Welsh holds the newly-won Premiership trophy as he celebrates along with Joe Hart following the 6-0 victory over Motherwell on May 14 as the curtain comes down on a fabulous campaign.

Serie A club Udinese made two offers for the 22-year-old star in January – with the top bid believed to be in the £1.5million region – but they were booted out as being far short of Celtic’s valuation of their defender.

Welsh started the season alongside Cameron Carter-Vickers while Carl Starfelt recovered from an injury sustained in the summer while on international duty with Sweden.

The young Celt even opened the scoring in the third minute with a header from a right-wing corner-kick in the 2-0 win over Aberdeen as Postecoglou’s men kicked off their bid for a second successive Premiership crown.

However, he has made just five more first-team appearances and that has alerted interested clubs to his possible availability.

Postecoglou sold Christopher Jullien to Montpellier in August, but also brought in Moritz Jenz in a season-long loan from Lorient and has just signed Vissel Kobe pivot Yuki Kobayashi on a five-year deal which will be activated on January 1 2023.

MAIN MAN…Cameron Carter-Vickers is a first-choice in the Celtic central defence.

Carter-Vickers, bought for £6million from Spurs in the summer after his initial impressive temporary switch, is a fixture in the middle of the rearguard and Starfelt has played in the last three games after another injury lay-off following his setback in the 4-0 derby victory in early September.

Postecoglou will be spoiled for choice for left-sided centre-backs with Starfelt, Jenz and Kobayashi, but he is not so well served on the right which could create a dilemma for the Hoops gaffer.

The Greek-Australian insists the club will not stand in anyone’s way if an acceptable bid is made, but he is clearly short of cover on the right if USA international Carter-Vickers was sidelined for any period of time.

Welsh made 24 appearances for the Hoops last season as they lifted their tenth title in 11 years, but has found opportunities in the top side few and far between in this campaign.

If any clubs do pursue their reported original interest and table an offer the champions believe is reasonable, it could force the manager into the transfer market for a third time at the turn of the year.

As well as the introduction of J-League performer Kobayashi, the Parkhead men have already paid £3.5million for Canada World Cup right-back Alistair Johnston who will be available for selection at the start of next month.

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