Aalesund manager reacts after star striker Leke James claims interest from Celtic

Nigerian forward Leke James believes Celtic are trying to sign him.

Aalesund manager Trond Fredriksen has told Aftenposten that he hopes Leke James stays at the club - though did acknowledge that they could strengthen the squad by selling him.

James, 22, has been a star for the Norwegian side since joining in 2012, scoring 37 goals in 89 games for the club - and his exploits appear to have attracted interest.

The Nigerian forward told African Football last week that Celtic have been scouting him ahead of the January transfer window, with Ronny Deila desperately looking for a new striker.

Deila will be aware of what James can do, having managed his Stromsgodset side against James and Aalesund before moving on to Celtic, but having an update on his progress is a smart from the Bhoys manager.

Now, James' Aalesund manager Trond Fredriksen has told Aftenposten, having been asked about Celtic's interest in the player, that whilst he wants James to stay at Aalesund for years to come, a deal to sell him would give him funds to strengthen the squad.

"If we get a good price for Leke, I think the team will emerge stronger from it," said Fredriksen. "It would give us opportunities to use someone else in that position and strengthen us elsewhere, whilst it may give us opportunities to develop other squad members. But I wish of course that he will remain for many years."

"We are stupid if we think Toy remain for ten years, so we have a good plan. We are preparing that there comes a day when he can leave, and we trying to get a list of players that may be able to repalce him. It's not easy to get a striker of his calibre," he added.

A prolific striker in Norway, James could offer pace and strength to the Celtic front line, whilst at 22, he still has plenty of potential to improve.

He only has to look towards Stefan Johansen as an example of what leaving Norway for Celtic can do to his career, and Aalesund at least seem open to the prospect of allowing him to leave.

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