The Football Transfer Tavern has been a hive of activity over the weekend and Scottish journalist Ronnie Cull nipped by yesterday afternoon to tell the punters that Sunderland want to sign Celtic striker Gary Hooper but will need to start the bidding at £10 million.
The Evening Times journalist had just spoke to Celtic manager Neil Lennon after his side’s disappointing 1-1 draw against Arbroath in the Scottish Cup and he explained that Lennon was not surprised to hear that former Hoops boss Martin O’Neill is a fan of the prolific striker.
Premier League strugglers Sunderland want to provide a foil for Steven Fletcher’s creativity and O’Neill appears to think that Hooper will be the perfect man to aid his misfiring side.
The Hoops striker was close to receiving his first England call-up for the friendly against Sweden before picking up a knee injury which ruled him out of contention. Neil Lennon remains confident that the striker will continue to ignore the speculation and focus on taking the Parkhead side into the last 16 of the Champions League.
He told the Evening Times, when asked about Sunderland’s interest: “That does not surprise me. But we are quite happy with what we have got.
“It will take a big offer, and I think Gary is really happy here and hopefully we can get his contract done.”
Cull later warned that the Black Cats may baulk at the high asking price with Celtic set to start the bidding at £10m for the former Scunthorpe United hitman.