The Hoops want the Irish striker, who they suspended last month for an outburst on Twitter, to go out on loan in this month’s transfer window.
And – a little ironically given Stokes’ social media complaint was about being taken all the way to Inverness just to sit in the cold in the stand – Caley Thistle are Celtic’s preference of the clubs who have so far tabled their requests.
Manager John Hughes, who has confirmed ICT’s interest, has history with the troubled player, having previously managed him at both Falkirk and Hibs.
Yet while the experiences were wholly positive – Stokes hit 16 goals in 18 games for the Bairns and 24 in his time at Easter Road – the player is understood to see his immediate future as lying away from the Highland capital.
And that will be a major disappointment not just for Hughes but also Celtic.
Only on Friday, their assistant manager John Collins expressed the opinion that it would be a very good fit because Inverness play a similar style of football to the Hoops.
Dundee United, struggling at the foot of the Premiership, were another possible destination for Stokes.
But they also appear to be out of the running.
Championship challengers Hibs, however, are a dark horse, with Stokes’ affection for his former club well known.
But Celtic would not be best pleased with that eventuality, Collins having stated the club would rather the player stayed in the top flight.
Further south, Cardiff City offer a more financially viable option.
With the striker having been told by Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill he must get regular football to make his Euro 2016 squad, it may be he will choose to sacrifice a percentage of his wages to get to the club he wants to join.
It’s another chapter to the player’s troubled history in the Hoops.
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