Cliftonville remain in the box seat to re-sign disgraced former striker Jay Donnelly from Belfast Celtic after Glentoran’s board poured cold water on a move for the Ardoyne man.
The 25-year-old ex-Reds forward joined the West Belfast club in January after serving a three month sentence in prison for distributing an indecent image.
Celtic boss Paddy Kelly signed the player on a professional contract last season and will not let their player leave for nothing, but nor will they stand in Donnelly’s way as he hopes for a return to top flight football.
The Reds opened dialogue with their former player after speaking to Belfast Celtic and were in pole position to sign Donnelly last weekend until the Glens entered the fray.
With more financial muscle to offer an attractive deal to Donnelly, the east Belfast side looked set to sign the goal-getter this week.
However, after contact was made, the Glentoran board moved to veto any potential bid for the player, and Oval sources suggest they will look further afield now for a similar player after progressing in Europe.
“Such a move would cause too much division at both board level and among the supporters,” said a senior Oval source.
“After winning in Europe on Thursday and getting through to the next round of the Europa League, the club is in a position to look outside our league for the right player.”
A Belfast Celtic insider denied asking for a £40,000 fee — the same fee Glentoran paid for Jay’s brother Ruairdhri in January — but insisted the club must be pieced off some way.
With the Reds reluctant to pay a transfer fee, a compromise may be reached involving friendly games and loan deals for young players, similar to a deal done with Coleraine in January for Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Meanwhile, Reds defender Garry Breen seems set to stay at Solitude despite overtures from Glentoran, which may end Cliftonville’s interest in Chris Casement.
Former Linfield defender Casement was keen on a deal with Cliftonville and the Reds retain an interest, but are top heavy with defenders and may need to move out to make way.