Celtic are keen to tie utility man Jonny Hayes to a longer contract – according to a report.

The Scottish Sun say that the Bhoys “don’t want to lose” the 32-year-old, who is out of contract next summer, amid interest from a couple of clubs down south. Both Swansea City and Stoke City are said to be interested in the Irishman, who has had four caps for his country, and become a bit of a reliable player for Neil Lennon in recent months.

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Hayes’ contract expires at the end of May 2020 (transfermarkt.co.uk) and he is therefore available to speak to clubs as early as January. That means that Celtic could have just two months to sort a contract for an important member of Lennon’s squad.

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Hayes has become a very dependable player for Celtic

The Sun’s report is interesting because we had previously not had any indication over whether the club were keen to keep Hayes on. The Irishman has been a bit part player since joining from Aberdeen in 2017 but he has undoubtedly played his best stuff since Lennon joined in February.

The gaffer clearly rates his man and showed as much by starting him at left-back away to Lazio. Hayes gave his all that night, as he often does, and that performance alone convinced many fans that it was worth a shot to keep him on for another couple of years.

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Hayes has become a bit of a Lennon favourite – featuring in 14 of our last 15 competitive matches – including away to Lazio, Rennes, Rangers and former club Aberdeen.

 

You wouldn’t imagine that he’d be on too hefty wages, nor would he demand inflated terms in any new deal. The question is whether Celtic value him highly enough at 32 to offer him a new contract.

It is likely to come down to what Lennon wants to do. He is well covered in both of the positions Hayes can play. We have a number of candidates on the left-wing while both Boli Bolingoli and Greg Taylor were big money additions at left-back in the summer.

Hayes is never going to be a permanent starter for the club. But his influence as a squad member can’t be underestimated.

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