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Manchester United vying to sign young Celtic midfielder; Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and Leicester also interested – reports

Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing Celtic academy star Daniel Kelly, according to reports. It is stated that United are at the centre of a five-way transfer battle for the Scottish teenager in an attempt to lure the talented player into England. As well as United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur are interested.

The 15-year-old has been impressing this season with a series of scouts sent to watch the player from different clubs during different age levels. The Glasgow Times has stated that the player has represented Celtic from U15 level all the way to U18 level, which has seemingly been a good season for the young midfielder.

It is stated that United, Arsenal and Chelsea hold a serious interest in signing the player with Leicester and Spurs keeping tabs on him. Kelly is a box-to-box midfielder and Celtic seem to be desperate to keep the player at the club, not losing him for a nominal fee, which would be the case as he is not yet eligible to sign a professional contract at the club.

Last year, Celtic lost defender Liam Morrison for Bayern Munich last year and there is a growing risk that fellow academy star, Barry Hepburn could follow the player out of the club. To me, it would seem that youth players at Celtic are seeking better opportunities elsewhere, which is probably a good thing for them – more competitive football.

It has been reported by The Times that in a bid to attempt to keep Kelly at Celtic this summer, they have offered him terms on his first pre-professional contract, seemingly trying to offer him more money to sign on the dotted line to thwart attempts to get the player to leave. However, if he has fallen out of love with the club, it is likely that he will leave.

Kelly was one of the stand out players during the Sheffield Trophy, a tournament in which the Glasgow club came second-placed to Major League Soccer side Seattle Sounders. The 15-year-old is a student in the St Ninian’s High School programme – the same in which Arsenal fullback Kieran Tierney came through before moving to London.

It is also suggested that Celtic academy star Josh Adam could leave for Manchester City, which leave the club sweating on the future of three players in the academy this summer, after losing one for Bayern Munich last year, which could be seen as a mistake by the club. Whoever lands the player could have a star in the making.

As there are five Premier League teams vying for the player’s signature, well three with two keeping tabs on the situation, it is clear that the player has been scouted a number of times and has done well with three of the five clubs seemingly getting ready to make offers to the player and his family. United are always looking for talented youth players.

First team manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a fan of youth players being promoted and more to the point directing the club to look for talented youth players from within the country. Because of Brexit, United will likely be impeded when seeking to sign players from the continent, meaning home nations players will be targeted instead.

Jose Mourinho interested in Celtic left-back this summer?

Kieran Tierney has been linked to Manchester United over the last few days with manager Jose Mourinho looking to strengthen his defence ahead of the new season. The Old Trafford club have already signed Victor Lindelof to strengthen the defence this summer, albeit in the central defensive area but one position needing reinforcement is at left-back. Last season Luke Shaw did not have the best campaign losing the trust from the manager, seeing himself criticised and then once given the chance and showing his abilities, injury struck once again seeing him on the sidelines throughout the summer and into the new season where he will miss the pre-season tour, despite suggestions he could travel with the team in a week’s time.

What is being reported and by who?

The Mirror started with the reports that Tierney, 20 could leave Celtic this summer in a £15 million deal. The Sun have also reported the prospective transfer, citing the information provided by The Mirror. To me, this makes such a deal suspicious as one newspaper is using the reports from another to form a story, which could cast away any chances of this being a realistic transfer story. Tierney has brushed off claims of a move this summer, seemingly interested in staying with the Scottish champions ahead of their new campaign. Tierney is highly regarded in Scotland and United, amongst other clubs sent scouts to watch the player against England last month. The fact that the left-back position seems to be a weak one at United could be the reason why Manchester United have been linked with Tierney, which may well be the only firm lead in this story. Tierney has four years left on his contract with Celtic wanting him to remain at the club for one more year.

What type of player is Kieran Tierney?

Tierney is a left-back and quite a talented one if you look at his performances for Celtic over the past season, and more importantly against England in the FIFA World Cup qualifier which resulted in a 2-2 draw last month. Celtic and manager Brendan Rodgers both seem keen to keep the 20-year-old at the club for at least another year. Tierney seems to have caught Jose Mourinho’s eye in Celtic’s 3-3 draw with Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League last season, a match in which the left-back was impressive, as were Celtic to achieve that result against City. Tierney could help strengthen United’s left-back ahead of the new season, which would take the pressure off Shaw, who is in a race to be fit for the start of the season – also giving United a rotation option, which will be needed in the position next season with United back in the Champions League and fighting for three domestic trophies, aiming to return to the helm of English football, challenging for the Premier League crown.

Likelihood of the transfer?

Right now I see this as speculation only. The player seems happy at Celtic, as do the club in wanting to keep him. United are said to be looking for a new left-back, which seems to link United to Tierney being that he plays in that position. United may be interested in the player, but with Celtic wanting him to remain at the club for a further year, at least, it would suggest that a deal would he hard to reach unless the player does actually want to leave the club this summer. His current contract will keep him at Celtic for four more years, so Celtic really do not have a reason to worry at this moment in time. United may have other targets, but I am sure if they want to make their interest known with a bid, it could lead to the player heading to Old Trafford or beyond, but I expect the player to remain a Celtic player next season.

Paddy McNair linked with a loan move to Celtic or Burnley?

Manchester United Academy star Paddy McNair, clearly not part of Jose Mourinho’s plans this season could well be heading out of the club on a loan deal, or maybe even a permanent deal should one be touted. The 21-year-old Northern Ireland international has already been linked to Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic and Sean Dyche’s Burnley, according to the Daily Record. The Sun carry some quotes from Rodgers when asked about bringing the player into the club this summer, of which he said:

“I can’t deny or say yes or no to that because there have been so many players who have been thrown our way or linked with Celtic. I can’t comment on everyone.”

Former Liverpool manager Rodgers seemed to choose his words wisely so as not to confirm anything, or even suggest they were interested in the player. That is not the only option open to McNair, who could join former United teammate Michael Keane, providing he remains at the club after interest from Leicester City earlier this summer, which may be of benefit for him. In the run-up to the European Championships this summer, in which Northern Ireland got out of the group states but, beaten 1-0 by Wales, McNair played as a defensive midfielder, a role which is preferred by the player himself, rather than playing in central defence or as a right-back, which may be of benefit to his suitors.

Dyche is a fan of McNair and previously tried to get the player from United in January, but was unable to find an agreement with the Old Trafford club at the time. Burnley need to find new players in a bid to remain in the top-flight this season after winning the Championship last season and earning promotion. Dyche and Burnley would be willing to lock horns with United again in order to conduct a deal for the player, presumably on a loan deal as it would not contain a massive fee or bonus, which may benefit the Premier League newcomers. Mourinho would be satisfied with a loan spell for McNair, but a permanent deal is something the Old Trafford club would welcome.

Last season, McNair made nine appearances for United’s first team, failing to become a regular. He played the same amount of games for Northern Ireland last season, featuring twice in the European Championships in France. McNair made 10 appearances, scoring once for Warren Joyce’s U21 side last season, who retained their Barclays U21 Premier League title. Whilst McNair is a competent player, he has found it hard to find a place in the team. Now he has chosen to play in midfield, a position which is even tougher to break into, the chances of him playing for United again may be quite slim. That, however, will not stop him from forging a career at another club, which I am sure he will do. A loan spell this season may help him achieve that next summer, or even in January, unless clubs place offers to take McNair away from United permanently before deadline day.

copyright: JW