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Ange Postecoglou issues Celtic transfer update as boss targets new faces but admits he 'can't force' Odsonne Edouard to stay

Daily Record logo Daily Record 07/07/2021 Fraser Wilson

Ange Postecoglou says Celtic are working on multiple fronts to plug “pretty obvious gaps” in the squad as talks with Swedish defender Carl Starfelt continue.

The new boss admits he's eager to bolster weaknesses in central defence, on the wing and at full-back and hopes to have new faces in the door within a week.

Discussions with Rubin Kazan are well under way over a £4million move for Sweden international Starfelt.

He has been identified as the No.1 target and potential replacement for wantaway Kris Ajer, with Hajduk Split stopper Mario Vuskovic also on the radar.

Ajer is a £12m target for Norwich and was left out as Postecoglou got his Hoops reign under way for real with a 3-1 friendly win over Sheffield Wednesday in Newport.

And Postecoglou said: “We are working hard to try to get people in.

“We are working on multiple fronts. There are some pretty obvious gaps we have in the squad.

“I know exactly how I want to play and the kind of players we need, so we are looking far and wide. There’s challenges with getting players into the country and doing business so early in the window.

“The whole club is working hard and I’m hoping over the next week or so we have some announcements.

“It’s not about a number – I’m just keen to bring in some players because we have a lack of depth in areas. You look at centre-back, wingers, at right-back.

“There’s areas there we don’t have a lot of depth.”

Carl Starfelt holding a football ball on a field © Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

Celtic are understood to be willing to shell out £4m for three-times capped Sweden international Starfelt.

The 26-year-old signed a new three-year deal in February on the understanding his club wouldn’t stand in his way if an offer came in during the summer that matched their valuation.

Postecoglou refused to deny interest in Starfelt or indeed Vuskovic and Aaron Hickey, who has also been linked.

He said: “Confirm or deny I would then be putting myself in a position where people think we have one target for one position.

"For me it’s about the right people – there’s no doubt this squad needs bolstering.

“We have lost a lot of players from last year and we are working hard to bring some in.

“I’ve put names forward, I’m the one coaching the players. But the way it works is that we are looking at multiple people in those positions.

“If one doesn’t work we can’t afford to wait till it falls down for another one to come in.”

The new boss watched as Edouard netted the third in the win over the Owls and says he's delighted with the Frenchman’s attitude.

a man wearing a green shirt: NEWPORT, WALES - JULY 07: Celtic's Odsonne Edouard warms up ahead of kick off during a pre-season friendly between Celtic and Sheffield Wednesday at Dragons Park on July 07, 2021, in Newport, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group) © SNS NEWPORT, WALES - JULY 07: Celtic's Odsonne Edouard warms up ahead of kick off during a pre-season friendly between Celtic and Sheffield Wednesday at Dragons Park on July 07, 2021, in Newport, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Edouard is in the final 12 months of his contract and while Leicester have pulled out of the running, AC Milan and Arsenal are among a number of clubs understood to be interested.

Asked about Ajer's and Edouard’s futures, Postecoglou said: “I can’t force people to stay. From my perspective, while they’re here, I’m treating them as part of the Celtic family.

"As long as they’re working hard in training, I don’t treat them any differently to anyone else. If things change with that, we’ll deal with it as we go along.

“I have had a brief chat with all the players. I don’t think it needs too much discussion. Actions speak louder than words.”

Postecoglou also has positive words on James Forrest who has remained in Glasgow after being identified as a Covid contact.

He said: “The good thing is up until recently he was involved with the Scotland squad. I don’t expect him to be too far off the pace when he comes back in.

“I know he is really keen to come back in. I’m looking forward to getting him in because I think he will be an exciting part of what we’re trying to build.”

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