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Freddie Ljungberg flies in for Celtic talks

Freddie Ljungberg landed in Glasgow last night as Celtic closed in on a deal for the former Arsenal and West Ham United midfielder.

After watching his side score two injury-time goals through South Korea duo Cha Du-Ri and Ki Sung-yueng to beat St Johnstone and keep their Clydesdale Bank Premier League title challenge alive, Hoops boss Neil Lennon talked about the possible recruitment of the former Sweden international, who latterly played his football in the United States.

Lennon said: “Ljungberg is coming in. It is not a trial or anything like that.

“It's so that we can have a look at him and he can look at us.

“We were contacted three or four weeks ago. I don't think he is over the hill, I think he’s 34 but he has always kept himself in good condition

“He had an horrendous time with injuries at West Ham but, in the last 18 months, he has played a lot of games in America.

“You don't lose the quality, he might be missing an edge but we will see how he is.

“He has been a quality player for a long time, he is vastly experienced and again, it's just an opportunity that might be there for us.

“Johan Mjallby (Celtic’s assistant manager) helped. Ljungberg's agency contacted us and Johan had a chat with him.

“He is keen to come and he wants to play in Europe again.

“He is a big name but that doesn't concern me as such, it is the quality he can bring to the club.”

Lennon will lose Cha and Ki to the Asia Cup today but he joked that he might have “strangled” both of them as Celtic struggled to break down the Perth men during a mostly woeful match.

“I was delighted for the players,” the Lurgan man said. “We kept plugging away and it was frustrating but we are very grateful for the two goals.

“But I could have strangled the both of them before Cha scored. You fancy Ki to hit the target with his two free kicks and Cha kept getting in to good positions and hitting the first man.

“Cha is under-rated, he keeps getting in there and it was a marvellous goal and Ki has been fantastic for the last 12 weeks.

“I have been delighted with their performances over the last couple of months and we will miss them.”

St Johnstone boss Derek McInnes left Celtic Park nursing a sense of injustice but accepting that the deadlock had been broken by a quality player.

“I thought we deserved a draw,” he said. “I have been here with teams before and felt a goal was coming when Celtic mounted pressure but I didn't think that today, which compounded the disappointment.

“Any late goal is hard to take and even harder against good teams like Celtic.

“Credit to Cha for his goal, you can't take anything away from his finish. He has played at a World Cup and you could see the quality in his finish — it's just a pity he hadn't been called away before we played Celtic.”

Belfast Telegraph


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