Strachan keen to keep Bellamy
By Peter ORourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Gordon Strachan admits he wants to keep Craig Bellamy at Celtic.New Celtic chief Gordon Strachan admits he wants to keep Craig Bellamy, Jackie McNamara and Neil Lennon at the club.
Strachan was unveiled as successor to Martin O'Neill on Tuesday and he is already planning for next season.
The former Southampton boss has made signing Bellamy on a permanent basis, and sorting out new deals for Lennon and McNamara, his top priority.
Bellamy has just ended a successful loan spell at Celtic and the club are keen to make to his move a permanent arrangement.
The Welshman is due to return to Newcastle now his loan deal has expired, but he is set to move on with Magpies boss Graeme Souness confirming he has no future at the club.
A number of Premiership clubs including Aston Villa and Birmingham are keen on Bellamy, but Strachan is hoping to convince him to stay at Parkhead.
"I have worked with Craig before. He didn't give us any problems," said Strachan.
"I have spoken to him already and he is positive, very positive."
Strachan has already targeted new signings, but insists he wants to keep McNamara and Lennon, who are both out of contract in the summer.
"I think it was documented Martin was going to make changes and I will be following along the lines of Martin," added Strachan.
"I have been working behind the scenes - with Martin's permission - in the last two weeks, cross-referencing his [transfer] targets and players which I would like to bring in.
"There needs to be a turnover, a decent turnover. There is a nucleus of seven or eight players over the last five years who need help.
"I'm not ageist. Neil Lennon (33) and Jackie McNamara (31) must stay at the club.
"They are both great examples of what it takes to do well at this club."
Strachan also plans to hold talks with giant defender Bobo Balde over his future.
Balde is considering leaving Celtic with Bayern Munich believed to be keen on his signature, but Strachan has warned the Guinea defender he may not find a better club than Celtic.
"Bobo Balde must have a fear of leaving Celtic. There are not many better places to go," said Strachan.
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell admitted Strachan has an agreed budget with what to work with in bolstering the squad.
"Gordon knows his budget as it was agreed in advance," said Lawwell.
"Everyone feels the squad needs freshening up and we are onto that right away."I don't want to get into figures as that is the last thing we want to do because people will know what your number is.
"For the moment there is clarity between the club's board and Gordon knows we've got pretty excited about it and how we go about it."