Milner move may decide McGeady fate

AIDEN McGEADY’S move to the Premier League and a reunion with Martin O’Neill could hinge on whether or not Aston Villa can sell James Milner to Manchester City.

If, as expected, Milner agrees a £25million move to Eastlands, then O’Neill will have the required funds to make a move for McGeady as well as his Republic of Ireland colleague, Robbie Keane.

McGeady, rated at £10m, has remained in Glasgow for treatment to a thigh injury while the rest of the squad are on pre-season in America, and his sale would enable Neil Lennon to further strengthen his squad.

Lennon hopes to convince David James to join after describing the England goalkeeper as an ideal replacement for Artur Boruc.

Hoops boss Lennon plans to meet 39-year-old James at the end of the week, when the club return from their pre-season tour of America.

James is a free agent after his contract at Portsmouth expired and his capture would help offset the disappointment of the loss of Boruc to Fiorentina.

Although the veteran keeper’s wage demands may ultimately scupper a move, Lennon has been encouraged by the fact James’ agent made the first move by contacting Celtic.

“We are still a long way off and it’s early days in terms of negotiation,” said the Armagh man.

“But just the fact he is interested is very encouraging, from our point of view. I want to get the best goalkeeper I possibly can.

“Not only for the league and Europe but also someone who can fill Artur’s shoes — and he’s one who can.”

Lennon hopes to sell the club in a meeting with James before next week’s Champions League third-round qualifying first leg at Sporting Braga.

“He will come up and have a look and see if he fancies it,” Lennon said.

“I’d like to speak to him myself and see what he is thinking, but the fact they have made the initial contact is very encouraging.”

James’ agent Colin Gordon said: “I contacted Celtic after what happened with Boruc and we are really just waiting for Neil Lennon and Celtic to come back from America to see if it’s something we can progress.

“So there is an interest but nothing more than that at the moment.”

Meanwhile, Gary Hooper also remains on Celtic’s radar although they are reluctant to meet the £2m valuation Scunthorpe United have put on the striker. The 22-year-old has netted 50 goals in 95 games over the last two years and he is a player Lennon has been tracking for some time.

Celtic’s finances will be boosted further with Paul Caddis and Simon Ferry both set to join Swindon in a joint deal worth around £350,000.

Ferry was on loan at the club last season and relished his time there, while Swindon had tried to get Caddis on a loan move in January but the deal fell through.

Celtic return from the States on Friday, and a deal is expected to be concluded for both squad players over the weekend.


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