Russell a Dunne deal for Celtic?

Posted by Andy Muirhead

Johnny Russell celeb Dundee United HibernianPA PhotosJohnny Russell: Another missed target?

It looks as though Celtic could lose out on Dundee United striker Johnny Russell, with the player's representatives giving permission to talk to Derby County following the two sides coming to an agreement over a transfer fee.

In my opinion it is déjà vu all over again with Celtic, as they could let go one of Scotland’s top strikers in recent years slip through their hands, just like they did with Steven Fletcher.

It is time that the talking stopped with Neil Lennon, Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell - offer United the money for the striker and then agree terms with the Scotland international before Derby County snap him up and he disappears into the wilderness that is the lower echelons of the English game. Another Scot in England that could be living life stuck on the bench for much of his time at the club - a David Goodwillie MKII if you will.

Of course there would be no guarantee that Russell would be a first team regular at Celtic, but given the fact that Anthony Stokes has rejected a contract offer from Celtic [while negotiations are still ongoing], Lassad and Miku have exited stage left. Leaving only Gary Hooper, Georgios Samaras, Tony Watt and the unwanted Mo Bangura, as the only seasoned strikers that Celtic have to call upon.

You can safely subtract Bangura from the list of available Celtic strikers, as it is expected he will be ditched as soon as possible, whether on loan again or moved out permanently.

However, Celtic need a seasoned and experienced striker, they certainly do not grow on trees and they are certainly not cheap. While it looks like Russell is heading out the Tannadice door to sign for Derby, an 11th-hour move for the hitman will certainly give Neil Lennon and the Celtic team that much needed experience up front - especially in the SPL where many-a-seasoned pro has flopped.

With the departures of Thomas Rogne and Paddy McCourt, another forgotten man - Daryl Murphy has left Parkhead for good and made the permanent move to Ipswich Town, where he had been on loan too. Murphy, who joined Celtic in 2010, never made the grade and for much of his time at Parkhead he has been out on loan. So that is another meal ticket, Celtic have ditched on the motorway lay-by.

If and it looks likely that Celtic will lose Russell to Derby, then Lennon could turn his attentions to Wolverhampton striker Kevin Doyle. With the English side relegated to League One and trying to cut costs starting with the higher earners, the likes of Doyle could see his time at Molineux come to an abrupt end – especially when Wolves have told Leigh Griffiths (who was on loan at Hibs this season) to return to base in preparation for playing in League One next season.

Doyle is not really that marquee signing that Celtic fans are looking for and sorry to burst their bubble, there won’t be a marquee signing at Parkhead this summer or any other transfer window for the foreseeable future. Doyle’s return of 11 goals in 47 games this season is certainly not something to shout about, but you never know how he will take to the SPL - he could hit the ground running or the 29 year old could be another Daryl Murphy and flop.

There is also the possibility that Celtic could sign £2 million-rated Vitoria forward Amido Balde, with reports claiming the SPL champions have sent over a delegation to talk to the Portuguese club to finalise a deal.

I just find it baffling to spend £2 million on a player that no one in Scottish football has heard of, yet Celtic could use that money to buy not only Russell, but also Gary Mackay Steven from Dundee United – although the Tannadice side may want a wee bit extra when it comes to GMS.

Ditch the Balde and sign Russell and GMS, Lennon.

With Rogne’s departure and Rami Gershon returning to Standard Liege after failing to break into the first team while on loan, Celtic are in need of another defensive option and it looks as though veteran Irish defender Richard Dunne may just be that man.

Dunne, who was released by Aston Villa this week, has been out of action for a year with a groin injury but managed to play the final 25 minutes of Ireland’s 4-0 win over Georgia in Dublin on Sunday.

While it would be a huge risk to sign the 33 year old, his experience would prove invaluable to the Celtic back line which has been suspect over the past few seasons. Could he hack it in the SPL? Could he keep up with the pace of SPL football? Could he be Celtic’s Davie Weir? All big questions for Dunne to answer and for Lennon to decide upon. He couldn’t be as worse as bad as Du Wei now can he?

The likes of Gary Hooper, Victor Wanyama and Fraser Forster have all been linked with a move away from Celtic – although Neil Lennon confirmed this week, while over in Dublin, that no clubs have contacted them in regards to signing the players.

Meanwhile, Celtic’s pursuit of Aleksandar Tonev has been effectively killed off after Aston Villa and Bundesliga outfit Werder Bremen signalled their intentions to sign the Lech Poznan player. It is reported that Villa are the front runners to the Bulgarian’s signature.

I guess this frees up Celtic to snap up Newcastle players Conor Newton and Paul Dummett, who spent last season on loan to St.Mirren - helping the Paisley side to their first piece of silverware in 26 years – god help us if this is the level that Celtic are recruiting at!

With the window not even open yet - little under a month until it does – you can bet your mortgage on Celtic being linked with many more players, some realistic signings, some delusional claims and others just baffling.

You wouldn’t have it any other way as a Celtic fan - would you?

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