Celtic Transfer News: Sunderland ready to rival Hoops for St. Johnstone star

Ali McCann in action for St Johnstone

League One side Sunderland are eyeing Celtic linked St Johnstone midfielder Ali McCann, the Scottish Sun reports.

What’s the latest transfer news involving Ali McCann?

The report details that the Black Cats have emerged as admirers of the Northern Ireland international, who helped the Saints win both domestic cup competitions this season. The Perth club reportedly value the 21-year-old at £2m.

How long have the Hoops been interested in McCann?

Celtic’s interest in McCann has been evident for much of this season.

Former Hoops caretaker manager John Kennedy confirmed that the player was admired by the Glasgow club, whilst it was reported in November that Celtic scout Tosh McKinlay was watching McCann in action.

As recently as last month, McCann was still being billed as a target for Celtic as news of St Johnstone’s price-tag emerged.

How well did McCann perform for St Johnstone this season?

McCann was a key man for St Johnstone as the club completed the most successful season in their history, as they won both the Scottish Cup and the Premier Sports Cup.

Playing for the majority of the season in the centre of midfield, the former Stranraer man made 43 appearances for the Saints, scoring two goals. McCann played every minute of both of St Johnstone’s cup final victories, against Livingston and Hibernian.

The player has also established himself on the international stage. After making his Northern Ireland debut against Austria in November, McCann is now a regular in the side, and has six caps

It is no real surprise that Celtic have watched McCann. He seems like one of the top prospects in Scottish football, and the Hoops have always strived to bring in the stand-out players in the Scottish game. 

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Is there room for McCann in Celtic’s squad?

One issue that may prevent Celtic from making a move for McCann is that the Hoops have a healthy number of central midfield players in the squad. Whilst some areas of the squad need reinforcements – at full-back and on the wing, for example – that is not the case in the middle of the park. 

As Transfermarkt shows, the Bhoys currently have four players who can play in central midfield. Therefore, it would seem like a bit of a gamble to add a fifth player without being able to guarantee much game-time.

It could well depend on Hoops manager Ange Postecoglou. He will have no doubt canvassed Kennedy’s opinion on the player, as his predecessor is currently still at the club.

If Postecoglou feels that McCann can help Celtic regain the Scottish Premiership title, then a move should be sanctioned. With other clubs interested though, Celtic might have to move fast to get their man. 

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