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Celtic confirm interest in £5m Paddy McNair as Hoops rival Premier League side for Northern Ireland star

 

Northern Ireland star Paddy McNair
Northern Ireland star Paddy McNair

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland star Paddy McNair is a £5m transfer target for Celtic.

Hoops boss Neil Lennon has confirmed that he is a big admirer of the Middlesbrough midfielder and is considering making a bid for the 24-year-old from Ballyclare after David Turnbull's move from Motherwell collapsed.

“There’s an interest there, yeah," said Lennon, according to the Scottish Sun.

Former Manchester United star McNair had a frustrating season in the Championship with Middlesbrough as his game time was limited and he is determined to play more first-team football next season.

Celtic could give him that chance, though they are not the only club interested in signing him with Premier League new boys Sheffield United and several Championship clubs also keen.

McNair has become a key player for Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland side and was a goalscoring hero earlier this month in a man of the match performance against Belarus in a vital 1-0 victory in a Euro 2020 qualifier.

He started out at Manchester United and was given his debut as a defender by Louis van Gaal in 2014 but left Old Trafford for Sunderland two years later before being transferred to Middlesbrough last summer.

McNair will hope to have his club future sorted early next month.

If he moves to Celtic, he will join Northern Ireland team-mate Conor Washington in the Scottish Premiership.

Washington has joined Hearts on a two-year contract after being released by Sheffield United, who will try to beat Lennon and others to win the race for McNair.

Celtic are set to complete the signing of Toulouse centre-back Christopher Jullien for £7million today.

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