NEIL LENNON is preparing to intervene in the talks to persuade Victor Wanyama to sign a new contract.
The Celtic manager knows the Kenyan's agent, Rob Moore, and is willing to speak to him directly in an attempt to restart negotiations, which have reached an impasse.
Wanyama is under contract until 2015, and the club are comfortable that, even with widespread interest in the 21-year-old midfielder from top clubs in England, they remain in control of the situation. However, Lennon can see the benefit of having Wanyama tied down for longer, and is ready to throw his weight behind this.
"I think we can always reopen negotiations with Rob on Victor's situation," the manager said. "Obviously, the longer we leave it, the more vulnerable we become, or the more he becomes an attractive proposition for a bigger club. That scenario will be a reality probably later on down the line. In the meantime, we will keep plugging away at it."
Ultimately, chief executive Peter Lawwell will remain the man leading the negotiations with Moore on Celtic's behalf, but Lennon is happy to use his influence, as well. "I don't phone Rob, but I have bumped into him on European trips," said Lennon. "Rob knows where we're coming from, and certainly where I'm coming from, as does Peter, but these things are always difficult."
Celtic already have made what they believe to be a generous offer to the Kenyan, who signed from Belgian club Germinal Beerschot 18 months ago but Lennon accepts Wanyama may want to test himself in the Barclays Premier League, no matter what Celtic put on the table. "That's the reality of the job sometimes with players," Lennon explained. "He has never intimated to me he wants to leave, and I'm not too sure who is driving the bus in this situation, whether it is him or Rob."
Despite all the speculation, Lennon insisted they have received no offers for any of his other players, including Gary Hooper. The Celtic manager is very happy about that situation, although he does anticipate the bulk of any transfer action will happen in the final week of the January window. Celtic already have brought in Rami Gershon on loan, and have Tom Rogic, the Australian midfielder, with them here.
Anthony Stokes will play some part against Steaua Bucharest tonight after being out since August, but James Forrest, Miku, Paddy McCourt and Lassad will sit it out due to various slight ailments.