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Friday 19 September 2014

Tonev may follow Petrov's example after Celtic deal

Published 12/08/2014 | 02:30

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Aleksandar Tonev
Aleksandar Tonev

Aleksandar Tonev will aim to follow the example of fellow Bulgarian Stiliyan Petrov by becoming a Celtic hero after sealing a loan move to Parkhead.

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The Aston Villa player will spend the season with the Scottish champions, who announced yesterday the deal includes an option to buy the 24-year-old next summer.

Midfielder Petrov spent seven years with Celtic before taking the opposite path to Tonev, by moving south of the border to join Villa.

As Tonev prepares for his big chance in the green and white hoops, the winger said: "Joining Celtic is unbelievable, and I feel really good about it. I'm delighted to have joined the club and I can't wait to meet up with my new team-mates and start playing for Celtic."

He added on Celtic's website: "I already knew all about Celtic. Everybody in Bulgaria knows Celtic.

"I spoke to Stiliyan Petrov yesterday and he was very happy for me. He wished me good luck and I hope I can do as well for Celtic as Stiliyan did."

Tonev has won 15 caps for Bulgaria and Villa hoped he could be a Premier League threat when Paul Lambert signed him from Lech Poznan in June 2013.

Petrov, who was on the Villa coaching staff at the time after an earlier battle with leukaemia, predicted his countryman could make a substantial impact, but the reality was that Tonev struggled to make an impression in the English top flight.

The move to Scotland could open the door to Champions League football, with Celtic having been handed a dramatic reprieve and a shot at Slovenian side Maribor in a play-off to reach the group stages.

WEST HAM UNITED have had a £4m bid for Sunderland striker Connor Wickham rejected.

The Hammers are in need of cover for Andy Carroll, who is out until November with an ankle injury.

Wickham's five goals in three matches in April secured the Premier League Player of the Month award and helped to keep Sunderland in the Premier League.

Defender Anton Ferdinand is desperate to prove his critics wrong after signing for READING on a two-year deal on a free transfer from Turkish side Antalyaspor.

Meanwhile, former Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi has signed a one-year contract with second-division Turkish club Gaziantep Buyuksehir Belediyespor.

Irish Independent

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