Friday 9 December 2016

Celtic rule out move for Scotland duo over their 'Premier League wages'

Jamie Holland

Published 20/06/2015 | 02:30

Stephen Fletcher: wages would be too expensive for Celtic
Stephen Fletcher: wages would be too expensive for Celtic

Celtic will not be making bids for Scotland forwards Steven Fletcher and Ikechi Anya because they cannot afford their huge wages.

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Reports have suggested the Parkhead club are keen on Sunderland hitman Fletcher and Watford winger Anya.

However, Celtic assistant boss John Collins confirmed yesterday that Fletcher's £45,000-a-week wages were way out of the Scottish champions' league.

And Anya, now on top-flight terms after the Hornets' promotion to the Premier League, is also earning too much to make him a realistic target, according to Collins.

Speaking at Edinburgh Castle following the release of next season's Scottish Premiership fixtures, Ronny Deila's number two said: "I don't think I can say they're players that we're trying to sign.

"They're two good football players who I admire but they're both Premiership players so the reality is they'll be on Premiership wages, so probably out of our wage bracket."

Collins also confirmed the path was clear for Rangers to re-sign Danny Wilson from Hearts after revealing Deila "won't be pursuing" the 23-year-old defender.

However, the former Scotland midfielder is confident Celtic will not need to find a replacement for Virgil van Dijk.

The Dutch centre-back hinted last week that he was ready to make a move away from Glasgow two years after signing from FC Groningen.

But Collins said: "I'm in regular contact with Virgil and I know for a fact that he is very happy at Celtic.

"He's enjoying playing and enjoying training and he has got two years to go (on his contract). There may come a time when Virgil moves on but at this moment in time he is our player.

"We're enjoying having him and I do think he will be a Celtic player come the first day of the season.

"When you have two years to go on your contract, the club are always going to be the one who makes the decision on whether they sell you.

"But we want him to be happy, of course, as well."

Celtic, who clinched their 46th league triumph last month after finishing 17 points ahead of the rest, will open the new campaign at home to Ross County on August 1.

So far, they have made just one summer signing after landing Belgian defender Dedryck Boyata from Manchester City.

Collins is hopeful more will arrive by the time the Hoops kick off their Champions League qualifying bid on July 14 or 15 but admitted it could take the club time to find the right targets.

"It's never easy," he said. "We've got good players but I think the important thing is to try and sign players who are going to make you better.

"But with the money there is in England, France, Spain and Germany, we can't compete with these teams when it comes to buying players.

"So we have got to take our time and try and get the ones who nobody else has spotted.

"We don't have the television money that you get in these other countries but we are still a massive football club with a great support, a great stadium and a great atmosphere in that stadium.

"So we are still an attraction for a lot of players. When players come to Celtic Park, they always enjoy it. It's a special place.

Meanwhile, striker Teemu Pukki has sealed a permanent switch to Brondby after last year's loan stint with the Danish club.

The Finland international failed to impress at Parkhead after joining the Hoops from German side Schalke in 2013.

But after impressing the Copenhagen outfit's head coach Thomas Frank with nine goals, he has been rewarded with a three-year contract.

At Rangers, new manager Mark Warburton will hope to put them on the path to promotion when his side open their campaign against relegated St Mirren at Ibrox on August 8.

Hibernian kick off their season away to Dumbarton.

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