Celtic have Northern Ireland international Paddy McNair on the transfer radar this summer, website 90min.com has reported this week.
The outlet say that Crystal Palace midfielder James McCarthy is the main midfield target in Neil Lennon’s sights but that McNair could come into the reckoning as a back-up if a McCarthy deal isn’t viable.
McNair learned his trade at Manchester United, where he emerged from the academy to make 27 appearances in all competitions for the senior side.
He made the switch to Sunderland and on to Championship side Middlesbrough, who he made 44 appearances for last term.
Still just 25, he’s also made 32 appearances for his country, facing off against elite sides such as Germany and the Netherlands (Transfermarkt).
Lennon’s need for a central midfielder isn’t massive with Scott Brown, Callum McGregor and Olivier Ntcham all regularly getting minutes.
Tom Rogic and Ryan Christie also add attacking thrust and Ismaila Soro is providing back-up.
Do we really need to bring in another?
The club may be looking towards the future with a move like this, signing a player like McNair up in his prime and protecting against a decline in Brown or the exit of Ntcham.
However, McNair still has two years left on his contract (Transfermarkt) so next summer could actually be the prime time to sign him up.
With other positions, for me, far more of a priority, I’m hoping the club can put a focus on defensive and wide attacking positions, rather than a Championship midfielder.