ANGE POSTECOGLOU has no intention of allowing Stephen Welsh to leave Celtic in this month’s transfer window.

The Hoops boss immediately rejected an approach from Udinese for the central defender as he reckons the Academy product is too valuable to this season’s plans.

The Serie A outfit enquired about taking the 21-year-old utility star, who can also play right-back, on loan with an option to buy, according to Sky Sports News.

HANDS UP IF YOU’RE STAYING AT CELTIC…Stephen Welsh celebrates his goal against Real Betis with Liam Scales clearly impressed.

Welsh broke into the first team last season and signed a new four-year contract in April 2021 and Postecoglou clearly believes he has a future at Parkhead.

One of the factors that would have seen the Greek-Australian gaffer knocked back the Udinese offer could be Christopher Jullien’s situation.

The towering French centre-back, signed by Neil Lennon for £7million from Toulouse in the summer of 2019, missed the whole of last year following knee surgery after his sickening collision with a goalpost in the 3-0 Premiership win over Dundee United in Glasgow on December 30 2020.

DOWN…but Christopher Jullien is desperate to come back after more than a year out.

There is no confirmed date for Jullien’s long-awaited comeback and there are no guarantees of a full recovery. Postecoglou is short on cover in the central defensive areas and has relied heavily on Cameron Carter-Vickers, on loan from Spurs, and £4.2million Carl Starfelt, from Ruben Kazan, since they arrived in the summer.

Welsh scored with a header in the Hoops’ 3-2 Europa League Group G win over Real Betis at Parkhead last month and he also featured in the 3-1 Premiership success over St Johnstone in Perth on Boxing Day.

Others will be leaving – with Ewan Henderson off to Hibs and Liam Shaw on loan at Motherwell – but any offers for the centre-back will be resisted.

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