Failure to capture Craig Bellamy confirms worrying trend for Celtic boss Neil Lennon
Neil Lennon believes Craig Bellamy would moved to Celtic had hometown club Cardiff not swooped when they did.
Lennon revealed the Hoops were in the running to land the Manchester City striker on loan right up until he completed his switch to the npower Championship side.
Bellamy was also targeted by Fulham and linked with Tottenham and Sunderland but, with his family still based in Wales, personal reasons proved to be the major selling point for Cardiff.
Lennon said: “I'm disappointed because we were right in the hunt until the very last minute. He had his reasons for going to Cardiff and he made that clear yesterday.
“That's where his family is and he has been away from his family for quite a while.
“He's got a young family as well and would have had to take all of that into consideration. We were well in there for a long while.”
Asked if Bellamy would have opted for Celtic had Cardiff not been an option, Lennon added: “I think so. I think we would have been the best option he had.”
The Celtic boss admits he could turn to Manchester City again in a bid to bolster his squad if they are willing to let goalkeeper Shay Given go out on loan.
“If it was a possibility, of course,” he said. “He is one of the best keepers in the Premier League.
“We've been linked with a lot of players and there has been speculation about a lot of players so I don't really want to comment on players coming in or going out.”
Bellamy is not the first big name Celtic have missed out on this summer, having also failed in their attempts to recruit David James, Jimmy Bullard and Sol Campbell.
“I'm not frustrated at all,” said
Lennon. “It happens sometimes and we have other options in the pipeline. For Campbell, we got (Daniel) Majstorovic. For Bullard, we got (Joe) Ledley.
“I would have been really pleased to get Craig in but it wasn't to be so I'm disappointed and frustrated but we move on.
“That's the sort of quality that I want to bring to the club. We have done that in previous years and we are not going to stop.
“I'm always looking to improve the team and those players fall into that category.
“We have identified one or two players and if we can bring them in, great. If not, we've got decent players here already.”
Lennon revealed striker Ben Hutchinson could be going on loan to Lincoln City after defender Darren O'Dea was farmed out to Ipswich until January.
“He was frustrated and I had to be fair to him,” he said of O'Dea's move.
Meanwhile, Lennon has urged his players to make the most of home advantage when they play host to FC Utrecht in tonight's Europa League play-off first leg, ahead of next week's return in Holland.
“They've got some very good individual players attacking-wise and technically they are very good,” he said. “We know the draw could have been kinder to us but we know what we are capable of doing against them.
“The onus is on us as the home team to try and take a lead into the game next week.”