Report: French champions show interest in Celtic target

By Euan Davidson

January 8, 2022

Celtic are facing competition from Ligue 1 Champions and former Europa league foes Lille in the chase for Zinedine Ferhat, according to a report from France.

The 28-year-old Nimes Olympique star, according to RMC Sport, is being looked at by Lille as a replacement for winger Jonathan Ikoné.

The report states that Lille are eyeing Ferhat, along with Nantes’ Ludovic Blas, and Romain Faivre of Stade Brestois 29. Ferhat has been a mainstay of Celtic gossip this month, along with Hibernian winger Martin Boyle.

Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

Both links suggest Ange Postecoglou is keen to bolster his options on the right flank, and with some experience, too. James Forrest has missed much of the campaign with injuries. Liel Abada, signed in the summer, has enormous potential, and has impressed in his early Celtic career.

Lille are looking to replace Ikoné, who signed for Fiorentina early this transfer window. Lille recouped a fee starting at €15m for the attacking talent [OneFootball].

Celtic looked to have a clearer run at Ferhat, only earlier this week. A report from Le10Sport indicated that Ligue 1 side St Etienne had dropped out of the race for the winger’s signature.

Instead, Lille, who are acclaimed for smart recruitment, especially when Director of Football Luis Ocampos was at Les Dogues [Bleacher Report], are in for Ferhat. That’s some worthy competition indeed.

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French champions Lille are tough transfer foes for Ferhat, will Celtic prevail?

The chase for Ferhat seems a very interesting one. For one thing, he doesn’t seem the type of personality Ange Postecoglou would necessarily enjoy. He’s not been training with Nimes Olympique in order to force a move. The Algerian FA banned him for 6 months in 2016 after his reaction to team selection in a friendly [SoFoot].

The latter was, of course, a long time ago. But would Ferhat react well to being an option rather than a first-choice at Celtic?

In any case, it’s a rumour that’s well and truly lingering. Nimes Olympique would do well to part with him now, given his contract situation. In the summer, he’ll be a free agent. He wants to move.


No point hanging about, really.

If Lille want him, they’re probably in the stronger position. It’s not to say they’re a bigger club, or anything like that. But moving within France, where he’s been since 2016, and to the Champions? It’d be quite a tempting offer for the 13-cap Algerian.

This is sure to be a saga with more twists and turns yet. And if Celtic do land Ferhat, by all accounts, it’ll have been after some significant to-ing and fro-ing.

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