Celtic target Chelsea youth as right-back contingency plan

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There are plenty of questions for Celtic to answer before the start of next season. Chief among them, of course, is the identity of their next manager after Ronny Deila announced he would be leaving at the end of the current campaign.

However, that hasn’t stopped the club pursuing potential transfer targets for the new man to mull over and it is at right-back where the Scottish giants appear busiest on the scouting scene.

With first-choice Mikael Lustig entering the final year of his contract and no iron-clad replacement presenting themselves in the current squad, Celtic are toying with the idea of bringing in Chelsea youth Ola Aina in the summer.

The Blues’ youth-team star has grown frustrated with a lack of first-team opportunities at Stamford Bridge and has rejected numerous offers of a new deal as a result.

Aware of the rancour, Celtic reportedly sent scouts to watch the defender in Chelsea’s Uefa Youth League final against Paris Saint-Germain last week.

The Daily Record suggest the Bhoys will face competition for the 19-year-old’s signature from rivals south of the border, but insist that the Ladbrokes Premiership leaders remain in the hunt for his services.

Aina has been ever-present in Chelsea’s youth team this season, playing 21 times in the U21 Premier League and Uefa Youth League combined.

An England international at age groups spanning the U16s up to the U20s, the London native clearly feels senior football is now a must in order to further develop his career.

With Saidy Janko suffering from injury, Darnell Fisher sent out on loan and Efe Ambrose attracting interest from Asia, it could be that the best place to find that is Celtic Park, where Aina could find Lustig’s expiring contract as the only barrier to the first team.

Deila’s side are rated as 8/13 shots to beat Hearts next time out and tighten their grip on the league trophy.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.