Celtic are still looking for their next manager and their pursuit of Eddie Howe has taken a fresh twist this week, according to emerging reports…
What’s the word?
The Sun claimed that talks are ongoing over a deal to bring the 43-year-old to Parkhead, although no announcement is due any time soon as both parties are reluctant to rush negotiations.
Crucially, it is believed that Howe wants certain assurances, and ideally would like to bring his former Bournemouth counterpart Richard Hughes with him as their next Director of Football to replace the departed Nick Hammond.
The Hoops hierarchy are said to be open to the idea but would have to rip apart their current plans, with Manchester City chief Fergal Harkin one of the frontrunners in the frame. Alas, Howe’s desire to continue his working relationship with Hughes has now complicated matters.
This will come as bad news to majority shareholder and Bhoys owner Dermot Desmond, as he will likely want to kickstart the new era at the earliest convenience and this merely throws a spanner in the works.
On top of Hammond, Celtic CEO Peter Lawwell is set to depart the club, and the Scottish giants have convinced incoming replacement Dominic McKay to start three months earlier than first planned; clearly with the summer window and key contract decisions to be made.
That is why they need to get Howe in through the door sooner rather than later. If he wants Hughes, then the Celtic Park hierarchy ought to sanction it as the pair clearly struck up a very lucrative partnership on the south coast.
Under their leadership since 2014, the Cherries gained promotion from the Championship and soon became a frequent presence in the Premier League, with Hughes playing a vital role in their recruitment, signing players like Joshua King and David Brooks.
Considering Celtic’s poor activity in the transfer window in recent years, this sort of partnership could well be necessary to bring the Hoops back on course with a full rebuild of Neil Lennon’s abysmal squad.
Celtic need clarity fast, and if that means tying down both Howe and Hughes, then Desmond must get it done. For now, it’s the only way to rebound from this setback.
AND in other news, Exclusive: Frank McAvennie slams “garbage” transfer business…