German media reports suggested Marko Arnautovic, the talented if temperamental Werder Bremen playmaker, had rejected the chance to join Celtic, despite the teams agreeing a £3.4 million fee, while Neil Lennon was still waiting for a further update from chief executive Peter Lawell about the club's pursuit of Teemo Pukki, a 23-year-old Finnish striker currently at Schalke.
The Parkhead side made a second undisclosed bid for the Finn on Friday, but as yet no agreement is in place. Five-day visa requirements for Kazhakstan mean Pukki could not feature in Tuesday night's Champions League play-off first leg against Shakhter Karagandy, but the club have until tomorrow to register him with Uefa to play in the leg at Celtic Park. Austrian international Arnautovic, formerly of FC Twente, has spent time at Inter Milan on loan.Alfred Finnbogason of Heerenveen is another option.
"We are interested in the player [Arnautovic] but whether we have put a bid in or not I am not sure, I wouldn't have thought so for that money," said Lennon. "They are different types of players, but they are both players that we like … we did go in with another offer [for Pukki] yesterday. They [Schalke] weren't prepared to sell but there might be a bit of give and take on that. We have expressed an interest [in Finnbogasson], but we have made confirmed bids, particularly for Pukki."
On the injury front, it was mainly positive news for Celtic as they flew to Kazakhstan last night. Lennon was hopeful of adding no fewer than four first-team stars to his pool - Anthony Stokes, Amido Balde, Derk Boerrigter and Tom Rogic - to "give us a little bit more emphasis attacking wise". Also in line to start is Virgil van Dijk after his full debut from the bench at Pittodrie yesterday. Welshman Adam Matthews is a doubt with a hamstring problem.