Should Aston Villa target Chiedozie Ogbene also be in Celtic's sights?

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers with the trophy after winning the Betfred League Cup during the Betfred League Cup Final between Celtic and Motherwell at Hampden Park on November 26, 2017...

Celtic have looked into Irish football for exciting talents in recent times and Limerick's Chiedozie Ogbene should have caught their eye.

Celtic's head coach Brendan Rodgers talks during a press conference in Brussels on September 26, 2017 on the eve of the Champions League group B) football match against RSC Anderlecht.

Celtic’s historic Irish roots means players from across the sea are always welcome at Parkhead. And in the last few months, it appears the Scottish champions have made an effort to keep an eye on the exciting talents emerging in Irish football.

The Scottish Sun reported earlier in the year that the prolific Sean Maguire was on Celtic’s radar after hitting 52 goals in just 68 games for Cork City – before joining Championship side Preston North End instead.

Sean Maguire of Preston North End in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Preston North End and Aston Villa at Deepdale on November 1, 2017 in Preston, England.

Not to be deterred, the Belfast Telegraph claimed recently that Celtic were also looking at Glentoran’s highly-rated midfielder George Sykes. The 20-year-old, who has earned rave reviews for his performances with Northern Ireland’s Under-21s, has also piqued the interest of Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers.

Dozie's a doozie

And with Limerick’s rising star Chiedozie Ogbene turning heads, it would be little surprise if he too had caught the eye of the Scottish champions.

The 20-year-old, born in Nigeria before moving to Ireland in 2005, is one of the most exciting players in the country and scored eight goals in 38 games last season. And the Irish Examiner reports that he is even a target for Aston Villa after also spending time with Chelsea on a trial.

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Cardiff City at Villa Park on November 26, 2016 in Birmingham, England.

"Chiedozie, give him the ball in his own half and next thing you know you’ve a free-kick on the edge of their box. He’s an unbelievable athlete,” Ogbene’s Limerick team-mate Dean Clarke said in quotes reported by the Birmingham Mail.

“I think he’s going to go a long way because of his mentality and how he looks after himself. He definitely has something about him.”

Celtic pride themselves on spotting gems early and helping them fulfil their potential. So Ogbene certainly fits the bill. And he would certainly get opportunities under Hoops manager Brendan Rodgers, a firm believer in youth.

But with Villa planning a bid, Celtic will have to move fast if Ogbene is in their sights.

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