With several clubs looking to reportedly sign Celtic winger Jonny Hayes on a pre-contract, the club needs to move now.
According to TeamTalk, Premier League side Burnley are one of four teams potentially looking to snap Hayes up on a pre-contract. The others include Cardiff City, Huddersfield, and Stoke City respectively.
The report also states that Celtic are set to offer Hayes a new deal. This would 100% be the correct course of action for Neil Lennon to take.
Regardless of whether the reported interest in Hayes is true, it’s vital we tie him down. He’s been Celtic’s most used substitute this season, managing 16 appearances with 13 of those coming from the bench (Transfermarkt).
If Celtic allow Hayes’ current deal to run into the New Year, we would be leaving ourselves wide open to other clubs nabbing him. It doesn’t matter whether he’s been making noises about wanting to stay or not either. The fact is we would be allowing clubs to come and hold talks with him, and that could be dangerous.
Celtic can avoid any unknown temptations
Nobody knows how Hayes would feel about potentially getting a big move to the Premier League. He may even fancy a Championship switch to try and taste the English top flight before he retires.
Who’s to say that clubs couldn’t convince him to take that leap if they got into a room with him and talked about a move? Celtic can avoid all of that by signing him up before January and ensuring his future remains at Parkhead.
Celtic have found out just how vital Hayes is to the cause this season. The Irishman has been so reliable for Neil Lennon as left-back cover. It would be surprising if he went to a Premier League side and became an immediate first-choice.
The Hoops should make sure the likes of Burnley and Co don’t get the chance to have a word with him about heading off in the summer. He’s proven to be far too valuable to the club to allow that to happen.
If there is interest in him, we have to make sure they’re paying full price for a player of Hayes’ versatility and reliability. The only way we can do that is by giving the 32-year-old a new deal.