Derby County boss Wayne Rooney insisted that Nathan Byrne and Lee Buchanan will not be sold with Celtic and Nottingham Forest eyeing up the full-back duo, while speaking to the Scottish Sun.
Considering the Rams have just 13 senior players on their books two weeks out from their Championship opener against Huddersfield Town on August 7, you can understand why Rooney is desperate to hang onto what little he’s got.
The Daily Record reported earlier in June that Celtic have set their sights on Bryne, a 29-year-old right-back formerly of Wigan, Wolves and Charlton Athletic.
The Hertfordshire-born Bryne would tick a lot of boxes for Ange Postecoglou, with the new Hoops boss looking to bring in proven, experienced performers with a track record in British football.
Losing Byrne to Celtic would be a blow, of course, but nothing compared to the humiliation of seeing one of Derby’s most exciting young talents make the short trip down Brian Clough Way.
The Sun (25 July, page 62) reports that Nottingham Forest, Derby’s bitter rivals, have made a £2 million bid for the 20-year-old left-back.
But Rooney could not have made his stance any clearer when quizzed about the potential departure of his full-back duo.
Will Nathan Byrne and Lee Buchanan be staying at Derby County?
“None of my players are going anywhere,” Rooney said, slamming an industrial size padlock on the gates of Pride Park.
“Obviously, we haven’t got enough players as it is.
“The way we are trying to play, they (Byrne and Lee Buchanan) are the two most important players on the pitch, so none of my players will be leaving the club this transfer window.”
Celtic need a left-back as well as a right-back, having failed to replace Diego Laxalt following his return to AC Milan. There are also doubts about whether Greg Taylor has the requisite technical ability to fit into Postecoglou’s free-flowing style.
According to the Record, Celtic have their sights on the swashbuckling Buchanan too. Although, with Derby slamming the door shut, Postecoglou appears to be climbing the north face of the Eigar in socks and slippers.
Celtic have already missed out on full-backs Milan Van Ewijk, Valentin Rosier and Sacha Boey, while George Baldock looks set to stay at Sheffield United.