Ronny Deila: Aiden McGeady must take a massive pay-cut to secure Celtic return
Everton outcast Aiden McGeady could be offered a Euro 2016 lifeline by Celtic if he's willing to accept a significant pay cut.
Having played just 45 minutes so far this season for the Toffees, moving in this transfer window appears the only remedy for the 29-year-old to retain his place in the Ireland squad for the summer showpiece in France.
Celtic manager Ronny Deila is prepared to take McGeady - probably on loan - back to the club where he first made his name, but striking a deal on wages is the major obstacle.
"We would not be able to pay the salary that McGeady is on at the moment," Deila said of the winger's current pay deal, which is reportedly €60,000 per week.
"The difference is so unbelievably big that there is no chance. Our wage structure would be broken 10 times over if we did that.
"We have tried before to get that type of player, but they get three times the salary at other places."
Celtic's majority shareholder, Irish businessman Dermot Desmond, sanctioned January moves to Parkhead for Roy and Robbie Keane in the last decade and it would take something similarly exceptional for Deila to compromise on his recruitment policy.
"I don't know what Dermot (Desmond) did before - you'd need to talk with him about that - but we'd need to have the opportunity to buy him (McGeady). That's an important thing for us," said the Norwegian.
"Maybe with players like McGeady, who has been here before, when he reaches the end of his career he'll want to come back again.
"That's possible but I haven't talked with him about that."
Deila also suggested that playing for another club in the Premier League, where the pay and prominence is greater, would be more desirable at this stage for McGeady.
"It's more interesting for him (McGeady) to play in England than Scotland. It's tough and you never say never, but it's a different planet when you talk salaries.
"It has to be players who want to come to Glasgow and play for Celtic - like Carlton Cole. He went down a lot in salary.
"When you get someone and then they leave in the summer it becomes a tough situation afterwards."
After losing his place in the Ireland side for the latter part of the qualifying campaign, McGeady's prolonged inaction at club level places him at risk of slipping completely out of the frame - a prospect Ireland manager Martin O'Neill emphasised last month.
"People like McGeady have to play," affirmed the man who gave the winger his full debut when he was manager at Celtic.
"He has the ability but Aiden's best games under me were when he was properly physically fit, having done a good pre-season with Everton.
"This becomes an important issue. I can't go into the summer carrying players who've maybe played just two or three games.
"From January on, there is no reason why players cannot be thinking about playing matches."