DAVID Turnbull is set to sign for Celtic on Friday after another sensational twist in the Motherwell midfielder’s transfer saga late on Thursday night.

The 19-year-old appeared set to sign for Norwich City having travelled south to hold talks with the Carrow Road club on Thursday, but a renewed effort by Celtic to land their man has paid off, with Turnbull deciding Celtic Park is the best place to go to further his development as a player.

Turnbull was said to be “blown away” by his visit to Premier League newcomers Norwich yesterday, but he is convinced that joining the Scottish champions offers him the best chance of regular first-team football with the Canaries having won promotion to England’s top flight via a Championship title win last month.

If the Scotland Under-21 international does put pen to paper for Celtic today, it will bring to an end a frantic fortnight of twists and turns in the battle to secure his signature.


It looked as though Turnbull would join Celtic at the beginning of last week as the Parkhead club had an offer of £3m plus add-ons accepted by Motherwell.

By Friday evening, though, negotiations between the player’s representatives and the club appeared to collapse in farcical circumstances, with Celtic issuing a statement via Twitter lambasting agent Liam O’Donnell and claiming they had made a “fantastic” and “magnificent” take-it-or-leave-it offer.

By the start of this week, Celtic intimated that they had “dropped their interest” in Turnbull shortly before an offer of £3.25m from Norwich was accepted by Motherwell.

That led Celtic assistant manager John Kennedy to publicly admit defeat in Celtic’s pursuit of the player, saying that while he was disappointed that Turnbull wouldn’t be joining the club, they would now be moving on to other targets.

“What we want is for players to be hungry and we also want them to come here for the right reasons, not just financially, and for a 19-year-old with less than a full season for Motherwell under his belt, the offer we made was very good,” Kennedy said.

“The reality is that if players come here and do well then they’ll be amply rewarded as the years progress.

“That’s the way we saw it, and we gave David the spiel about how we work here and how we nurture players and where they go from here.

“If you do well at Celtic then the world is your oyster and that’s what we wanted to give him, but they chose not to take it.”

But by late on Thursday night, the landscape had changed yet again, with Turnbull sensationally turning down Norwich after Celtic had come back to the table with improved terms, with the driving reason behind the decision being the more realistic prospect of immediate first-team football.

Turnbull was a standout performer in his breakthrough season at Motherwell last term after forcing his way into the Steelmen’s first-team in October.

He went on to score 15 goals in 31 appearances as he went on to claim the SFWA Young Player of the Year Award.