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Celtic blow as youngster plots escape plan to Dundee United

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Denny Johnstone could be set for a move to Tannadice if reports in the Scottish media are to be believed.

Neil Lennon’s plans for next season may have suffered another setback following the news that promising youngster Denny Johnstone could be leaving the club.

The Northern Irishman has had something of a difficult couple of weeks following the news that assistant manager Johan Mjallby is to depart at the end of the season along with star striker Georgios Samaras who is out of contract in the summer.

And if an exclusive report from Liam Kennedy in the Evening Telegraph is to be believed, things look to have gone from bad to worse for the 42-year-old manager with the news that Johnstone is now looking to swap Celtic Park for Tannadice.

The report indicates that a lack of first-team opportunities may be at the heart of the decision with the 19-year-old striker keen to emulate fellow Scottish youngsters Ryan Gauld, Andrew Robertson and John Souttar who have each thrived at United under Jackie McNamara.

A former Hoops hero himself, McNamara’s policy of playing young Scottish talent looks to be paying dividends both on and off the pitch, with each of the three aforementioned names linked with clubs like Everton and even Juventus in the past few months.

Johnstone is evidently keen to follow in their footsteps, though Dundee United will face a fight to land the player, who comes highly-regarded by those behind the scenes at Parkhead.

The report suggests the Scottish Premiership champions will settle for no less than £100,000 for the youth academy product, a valuation beyond Dundee United’s own financial remit, though that could evidently change in the event of any summer transfer dealings.

In any event, a transfer tribunal between the two clubs could be in the offing but with Johnstone seemingly keen on the move, Lennon and Celtic face something of a fight to keep the player on their books.

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