Ryan Christie is ready to make a French exit from Celtic after the Euros.
The Hoops have appointed Ange Postecoglou as their new manager but Christie – a signing target for both Nice and Monaco – fancies a fresh challenge.
And with his current deal up in January, the Scotland forward will be allowed to go if it means the difference between his club receiving a seven-figure sum now, or nothing in seven months’ time.
Neil Lennon, Postecoglou’s predecessor at Celtic Park, drew attention to the reality of the situation last week, suggesting that given his contract situation, Christie would want to put himself in the shop window at the Euros.
It had been thought the 26-year-old – a £500,000 signing from Inverness Caledonian Thistle in 2015 – had his heart set on a move to the English Premier League.
Southampton and Burnley are both interested in taking him south, with the likely £1 million-plus fee representing a zero-risk transfer for them.
However, while the Saints would offer him the opportunity to team up with Scotland team-mate, Stuart Armstrong, it is understood Christie’s preferred option is to move abroad.
The French options hold plenty of appeal for him.
With Scotland now preparing for Tuesday’s final Group D fixture against Croatia at Hampden Park, more options could still materialise.
Christie’s goal against Serbia helped earn Steve Clarke’s side their place at the Finals, and his emotional postmatch interview struck a chord with the Tartan Army.
He was substituted in Scotland’s Euro 2020 opener against the Czech Republic, but stayed on the bench at Wembley on Friday night.
He has consistently stressed his desire to focus on the Euros, and any final decision will be delayed until after the country’s interest in the competition is at an end.
While the midfielder will be a loss to Celtic for the goals and drive he provides in a variety of attacking roles, the club have at least known it was coming for some time.
Back in November, Lennon admitted the club were struggling to get Christie to agree an extension because he fancied a fresh challenge.
The likelihood is that Postecoglou will have known he would not be getting Christie’s services, even before he accepted the post.
With skipper Scott Brown having moved on to Aberdeen, it will mean a new-look Hoops midfield will be in place for the challenge of trying to wrest the Premiership title back from Rangers.
It could be a very youthful one too.
Liam Shaw (20) has joined from Sheffield Wednesday, having earlier signed a pre-contract deal, and he will team up with David Turnbull (21) and Ismaila Soro (23), both of whom impressed last season.
John Kennedy, caretaker-manager before Postecoglou’s appointment, has also admitted that the Hoops have been watching St Johnstone’s Ali McCann (21) with interest.
A full Northern Ireland internationalist, and double cup winner with his club last season, he would cost in excess of £2-million to sign.
Postecoglou has no time to waste in his new role, with his first competitive game coming on Tuesday, July 20.
It is a huge match, too, with Celtic entertaining FC Midtjylland of Denmark in the home leg of the clubs’ Champions League Second Round qualifier.
They then travel to Denmark for the return eight days later, with UEFA’s ban on away supporters meaning they won’t be accompanied by their usual backing.
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe