Vinicius Souza Celtic transfer battle escalates as ‘loan with option to buy’ route emerges

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SCHALKE and Real Betis have joined the list of clubs interested in Celtic target Vinicius Souza, we have learned.

The Hoops have been monitoring the Brazilian midfielder for a few weeks.

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Vinicius Souza’s fight goes into a tackleCredit: AFP

Souza, 23, spent last season on loan from Lommel to Belgian club KV Mechelen – but has ruled out staying there next season.

He wants to test himself in another league and there has been interest from Ajax and Fenerbahce in particular, alongside Premiership champions Celtic.

German giants Schalke have now joined the transfer race for the midfielder after recently winning promotion to the Bundesliga, the Daily Record report.

They also claim Spain’s Copa del Rey winners Real Betis are eyeing the former Brazil youth international.

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A potential domino effect looms on the horizon and rests with Betis star William Carvalho.

The Portuguese star is reportedly wanted by Fenerbahce (who also want Souza) and if he leaves Spain for Turkey, Betis will have Souza as a ready-made replacement.

It is said that Celtic have held talks with the player’s representatives and that a loan deal with an option to buy is likely on the table.

These arrangements would be of the same type as the Celts had in place with Cameron Carter-Vickers and Jota, who signed permanently for the club this summer after successful loan spells last season.

Where Parkhead’s side might have the edge is through their ties to City Football Group (CFG), who own 60% of Souza. Celtic signed boss Ange Postecoglou from club CFG Yokohama F Marinos while Mark Lawwelll, son of former chief executive Peter, came from the same organization to be the Hoops’ chief recruiting officer.

Meanwhile, Carlton Cole has revealed why it didn’t work out for him at Celtic.

And the former England international has slammed ex-boss Ronny Deila for failing to get the best out of him.

Cole told The Sportsman: “The manager at the time was Ronny Deila.

“He wanted me to play a certain way. He wanted me to run the chains more. You know what, I can’t play like that now, I’m a targeted man.

“All you need is to get rid of Leigh Griffiths. You won’t see the best of me on the wing. You will only see the best of me in the penalty area.

“So we had a bit of a disagreement and it didn’t bode well. He didn’t want to play me so much.

“He said I wasn’t fit enough. How am I supposed to be fit if I don’t play games?

“I played about five reserve games and he always thought I was out of shape. Reserve games are not the same as first team games. It’s a different level.

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“I have to play more first-team games, give me 25 minutes here and there. I’ll get back up to speed, but he just didn’t want to do that. He makes excuses.

“So I have no bitterness towards him or his staff or anything like that. But at the time it was a bit disorganized.”


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