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Neil Lennon: I'm shocked by Roy Keane saying no to Celtic job

By Daniel McDonnell

Neil Lennon has admitted to being shocked and disappointed when he heard that Roy Keane passed over the opportunity to become his replacement at Celtic.

The Ulsterman believed that Keane was the right fit for the SPL champions and was saddened last weekend when the former Manchester United captain opted out to stay on with the Republic of Ireland as assistant to Martin O'Neill – another former Bhoys boss.

"Yes, it really did surprise me about Keano," said Lennon, who is being targeted by a number of clubs both in England and abroad.

"I think he was ready for the Celtic job."

“He's had, what, three years out of the game since he was a manager and he's been watching a lot of games, he's been at Champions League games, and he's got vast experience.

“He fits the identikit of a Celtic manager. I can totally understand his situation, that it's a personal decision, but I was hoping he would take it. He would have given the club a big lift.”

Lennon opted to leave Celtic last month after four years in charge and said that he would speak to their hierarchy about his successor. He indicated that Keane came up in his discussions.

 “He was talked about, right back from his time at Celtic. Dermot Desmond knew him very well. He would have been well up the list.”

Keane has been floated as a potential No. 2 for Paul Lambert at Aston Villa, a role that he could combine with his Irish duties.

It will be explored after the summer tour in America, with the Republic of Ireland's first game against Costa Rica taking place in Philadelphia in the early hours of tomorrow, (1am BST).

 Speaking ahead of the match, O'Neill said that he was unaware if Keane's contract with the FAI prevented him from working for another football operation at the same time.

Aston Villa, meanwhile, have signed ex-Arsenal and Fulham defender Philippe Senderos on a free transfer from Valencia.

Senderos, 29, has agreed a two-year deal to become Villa's first senior signing of the summer.

“I'm really delighted to be joining Aston Villa, a great club with such a big history, and for me this is a great step in my career,” he said.

Senderos is in the Switzerland squad for the World Cup and will compete in his third finals in Brazil.

Fernando Torres claims that if Cesc Fabregas is made to feel important at Chelsea he will take the side to the next level.

The Barcelona midfielder seems set to return to the Premier League, with the Blues closing in on his signature.

Barca team-mate Gerard Pique was overheard on Wednesday saying that the deal was done to bring Fabregas back to England and Torres has also spoken about the midfielder.

“Big players are always good signings,” said the Chelsea striker.

“We know Cesc well, he knows the Premier League and he was always one of the best players at Arsenal.

“Fabregas likes to play good football and he will offer technique, a cutting edge and also goals.”

Torres, who expects Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa to join Chelsea soon too, added: “If he's made to feel important, a leader — just as he was when at Arsenal — he can drive the team on and he's a type of player Chelsea don't have.”

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