Brighton are ready to let Celtic take Shane Duffy on the ‘never-never’ if it helps the Irishman get a move to the club he supported as a boy.
The Hoops want to bring the 28-year-old north to bolster a squad whose defensive frailties were exposed in the Champions League exit to Ferencvaros.
Seemingly surplus to requirements under Graham Potter’s management at the Amex, Duffy is likewise keen on the idea.
Yet while the English Premier League club won’t oppose his departure, they are determined to get market value.
West Ham and West Brom are both also interested, with the former, in particular, not put off by the £5-million asking price.
That’s viewed as steep by Celtic, especially at a time when they have just missed out on a potential £30m-plus windfall for reaching the Champions League group stages.
They would prefer to take the Republic of Ireland international on a year’s loan, with a chunk of his wages being picked up by Brighton.
The Seagulls, owned by sports better and former professional poker player, Tony Bloom, are fine with that – provided they receive a £2m loan fee for doing it!
It is understood, though, that in a bid to move the situation on, they have suggested a compromise, which would see Celtic sign the player permanently, but pay for him in four annual payments of £1.25m.
They worked a similar arrangement to allow boyhood Rangers fan, Jamie Murphy, to move to Ibrox.
With Duffy’s contract having another three years to run, Brighton stand to potentially save millions on his £40,000-a-week wages.
Brighton have Ben White returning from a successful loan at Leeds United.
The Elland Road club have tried repeatedly to make it a permanent £25m transfer, but been rebuffed each time.
The Hoops would potentially still have some work to do to get Duffy to agree to terms they could live with.
That’s likely to be a lower basic wage, bolstered by bonuses, but his desire to come to Celtic Park could get it done.
The matter was arguably given urgency by Kristoffer Ajer’s agent asking Celtic for their valuation of his client in the wake of the Ferencvaros defeat.
That followed comments from Neil Lennon, stating that if there were players who wanted to leave Celtic, they could do so.
Asked on Friday about the chance of a central defender coming in, the Celtic manager certainly did not rule it out.
“Yeah, there is the possibility of a couple of players coming in,” he said.
“The defeat on Wednesday won’t affect what we are trying to do in terms of trying to bring players in.”
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