Scottish Premiership champions Celtic held talks with Andraz Sporar before he joined Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon, Neil Lennon admitted.
Andraz Sporar has shed fresh light on why a much-discussed move to Celtic failed to materialise in January, telling the Daily Record that he had already agreed to join Sporting Lisbon instead.
After hitting 12 goals in just 11 games in the Slovakian Premier League during a prolific first half of the season, it was no surprise when one of Europe’s most in-form number nines found himself courting a number of clubs during the winter window.
Celtic had expressed an interest in bringing the £6 million-rated Sporar to Glasgow with manager Neil Lennon, after initially playing down the speculation, belatedly admitting that talks had indeed taken place (BBC).
But Celtic were forced to turn their attention to Polish starlet Patryk Klimala instead once their top target had decided to choose Portugal over Parkhead.
And, given that Sporar is not a man to go back on his word, it seems that The Hoops were doomed right from the start.
“I had other offers – most noticeably from Celtic. I kept in touch with Celtic all the way through January and my agent also spoke to other clubs too,” the Slovenia international admits.
“Regarding Celtic, I talked to them and explained I had promised Sporting I would sign for them and they ended their interest. I wanted to sign from Sporting from the start and I was delighted when they closed the transfer.
“I gave (director of football) Hugo Viana my word I would sign for Sporting.”
With just two goals in seven Primeira Liga games for the Lisbon giants thus far, neither Sporar nor Klimala are yet to live up to expectations in their new homes.
But with Celtic facing a real challenge if they want to hold onto Odsonne Edouard beyond another summer, The Hoops might soon rue their failure to sign a readymade replacement for a fearsome Frenchman.