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Ivan Toney wanted to join Celtic this summer but the Scottish Premiership champions are ‘running out of time’ to get the deal done, Peterborough United chairman Barry Fry has told The Mail.

After plundering 26 goals in the third tier during a career-best 2019/20 campaign, a striker who failed to make the grade at Newcastle United looks set to be on his way back to the top level sooner rather than later.

A host of bottom-half Premier League clubs are rumoured to be interested, as well as plenty of ambitious, deep-pocketed Championship sides.

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Premier League Bottom Half Best XI
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But, as you might imagine, the chance to write yourself into British football history with Celtic on the verge of a tenth successive Premiership crown is tempting indeed.

A move north of the border would also allow Toney to play European football, while offering almost guaranteed access to silverware.

But unless the Glasgow giants are willing to meet Peterborough’s demands, the rangy, penalty-box poacher looks set to miss out on his dream destination.

“(Celtic) are running out of time now. The lad is very close to signing for someone else in the next couple of days,” Fry says, after turning down an initial £4 million bid from the Hoops a fortnight ago.

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“Celtic would have been his preferred choice, but they are nowhere near (meeting our price-tag)

“I heard from Ivan’s agent to say Celtic were coming back. That was Sunday evening after their first game. They had heard Celtic would be coming back, but I haven’t heard anything.”

The Mail (9 June, page 76) reported that Peterborough wanted a scandalous £15 million for Toney – a fee which would require Celtic to obliterate their transfer record.

In an era of unprecedented financial uncertainty, that is just not going to happen.

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In other news, Report: Newcastle now hoping to sign 'perfect' player, asking price set