NEIL LENNON yesterday admitted he had not yet asked Aiden McGeady if he wants to leave Celtic.
Speculation over McGeady’s future has been rife this summer, with Spartak Moscow having made a bid – reportedly £8.3 million (€10m) – for the Republic of Ireland winger, while other clubs have also expressed an interest.
Lennon revealed two weeks ago he got a “vibe” from the 24-year-old that he wanted out of Parkhead but has refrained from quizzing him outright.
McGeady travelled with Celtic to London yesterday ahead of this weekend’s Emirates Cup and Lennon insisted the midfielder would play some part in the pre-season tournament.
However, the Hoops boss gave the same assurance the day before Wednesday night’s Champions League third qualifying round first leg defeat at Braga, only for the player to be left out of the squad altogether.
Lennon claimed afterwards McGeady had been ruled out with a back injury but his omission only served to fuel rumours he is on the brink of being sold.
Asked if he knew what McGeady wanted, Lennon said: “No. He wanted to play on Wednesday, so that was a good sign, encouraging from our point of view.
“But I haven’t really sat down and said, ‘Are you away?’, or ‘Do you want to go?’ or anything like that because I don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on him.”
Lennon was unable to give any assurance McGeady would stay beyond the end of the transfer window.
“I really can’t answer that question,” said Lennon, who confirmed there was a “big bid” on the table.
“Obviously, there’s strong interest – not just from Moscow. We do believe there’s interest from other clubs as well. He’s a talented player, a very talented player. But every player has his price, and sometimes we can’t stand in the way of that.
“If it’s right for the club – the offer – and right for the player then it’s hard to stop these things going through.”
Aston Villa and Tottenham are two of the Barclays Premier League clubs strongly linked with McGeady and Lennon has no doubt the player would be a success wherever he ended up.
However, he also rubbished suggestions the winger’s development would be slowed if he did decide to stay at Parkhead. “I think he would do well anywhere,” Lennon said.
“He’s a top-quality player and he has been for a number of years since he broke onto the scene in 2005.
“People say he won’t develop at Celtic. Utter nonsense, because probably the best player we’ve had at the club in the last 30 years, in Henrik Larsson, developed into a world-class player at Celtic.”
Should McGeady leave Celtic Park Paddy McCourt believes he can emerge as the player to replace him.
McCourt signed a new three-year contract yesterday, ending speculation he could leave his boyhood idols for Barclays Premier League new boys Blackpool. “If he (McGeady) does leave, it’ll definitely open up a space for me and it’ll be up to me to grab it,” said McCourt.
Lennon openly compared the two players in expressing his delight at McCourt’s decision to sign on.
“You’re talking about McGeady, you’re talking about people entertaining crowds,” he said.
“I think traditionally the club has had that over the years – players who can beat people, eliminate people, take them out of the game.
“I want that in my team and Paddy certainly comes into that category.”
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