Report: Burnley want January move for Celtic star Nir Bitton

By John McGinley

November 10, 2019

Celtic utility man Nir Bitton is the subject of transfer interest from English Premier League side Burnley, The Scottish Sun report.

The Israeli international’s contract is up at the end of the season and he’s not been one of the stars, like James Forrest or Callum McGregor, to have recently put pen to paper on an extended deal.

The paper says that Burnley boss Sean Dyche is looking to land the player in January with a cut-price deal of around £1m.

The Clarets aren’t the biggest spenders in the English top-flight but have used their TV cash reserves to shell out as much as £15m for players such as Ben Gibson in recent years (The Independent).

It appears manager Neil Lennon may not be keen to let Bitton, a player he signed in 2013 during his first Celtic spell, go so easily.

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As quoted by The Scottish Sun, the manager explained recently he’d like the versatile star to stay: “Nir has been superb for us, but obviously we know about his contract situation.

“That’s something we’ll be looking to change as we go along. Hopefully, we can get it sorted soon.”

(Photo by Tullio Puglia – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Benched Bitton

Although Lennon has found a use for the 28-year-old since arriving as manager in February, it’d be inaccurate to describe him as a key player in the squad.

He’s not started a match since the outstanding victory away to Rangers in early September (Fitba Stats), missing most of that month due to injury. Returning to fitness, in recent weeks he’s been used as an option from the bench rather than a regular starter.

Essentially transformed into a central defender from a long career as a midfielder, he’s provided excellent cover in that position.

It wouldn’t be the worst idea to tie him down for a few more years if he’s happy in his current versatile squad role. However, a seven-figure fee for a player approaching the end of his contract isn’t the worst outcome either.

Both the player and Celtic have options here and it’ll be interesting to see if Lennon makes any new comments about his situation over the coming days.