Celtic appeared to have come up with an ingenious way of landing John McGinn on the cheap.
The Daily Record reports that Celtic have had two bids for the 23-year-old Hibernian midfielder rejected this month, the second being worth up to £1.75 million. Hibs have now slapped a £4 million price-tag on McGinn’s head.
But, rather than double their offer, it seemed Celtic would instead attempt to land McGinn without spending a penny. The nine-time Scotland international is out of contract next summer and the Hoops could therefore sign him on a pre-contract agreement in January.
The Daily Record claimed Celtic were prepared to play the waiting game in order to avoid paying the full fee. Although this could yet backfire in quite spectacular fashion.
It is understood that clubs from the first two divisions of English football are keeping tabs on McGinn and one of those may well be Brighton and Hove Albion. Back in May, the Mail claimed that the Seagulls were weighing up a £3 million bid for the energetic enforcer.
Should Brighton make that bid between now and the end of the transfer window - and they have an opportunity to do just that with their Scottish counterparts taking a back-seat for now - Celtic would be really up against it. After all, £3 million is almost double the bid Brendan Rodgers' side have allegedly put on the table and far closer to Hibs' valuation.
Dynamic and hard-working, McGinn would be a good addition to Chris Hughton's side, who rely on team ethic and their energy in the centre of the park.
And with the Premier League giving Brighton access to funds Celtic can only dream of, they surely have the firepower to blow the Scottish Premiership giants out the water.