Lennon eyes striking duo
Neil Lennon concedes he retains an interest in both Shane Long and Craig Bellamy as he looks to bring a striker to Celtic.
By Alex Dunn
Last Updated: 29/07/11 10:41pm
Celtic manager Neil Lennon concedes he retains an interest in both Shane Long and Craig Bellamy as he looks to bring a high profile striker to Parkhead.
The SPL giants are currently in Dublin for a pre-season tournament which also involves Manchester City, Inter Milan and an Airtricity XI at the capital's Aviva Stadium.
In a pre-tournament press conference, the Ulsterman was in a candid mood as he spoke openly when quizzed on purported interest in both players.
Liverpool are reported to be monitoring the situation of Reading's Long as they seek back-up for first choice strike pairing Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, but it is West Ham who have stolen a march on their fellow suitors by lodging an offer thought to be in the region of £7million, including add-ons.
"He's a quality player and I've had him watched a couple of times and watched him myself. I'm a huge admirer of his," said Lennon of Long.
When asked if he'd given up on signing the Republic of Ireland international in light of the fact West Ham have stepped up their interest with a bid, the Celtic chief offered a bullish response.
"No, not yet. We've got another month (until the end of the transfer window)," he added.
"We haven't made a formal bid. I like the player and there is an interest there but not anything concrete.
"Whether our valuation matches Reading's is another matter."
Manchester City striker Bellamy is well known to the Celtic faithful having enjoyed a hugely productive loan spell in Glasgow back in 2005, when he moved to the club from Newcastle United for the second half of the season.
With Roberto Mancini keen to trim his squad, Bellamy - along with a number of other high-profile players - has been informed he is surplus to requirements in Manchester.
Lennon would love to be reunited with a player he holds in the highest regard but admits finances could prohibit a deal for the Welshman as earlier this week the 32-year-old claimed he will only leave City on a permanent transfer.
"There's interest, there's no doubt about that but again it's down to finances," he concluded.
"We'll hope to speak to Manchester City and see what his situation is and then maybe take it from there."