Celtic boss Lennon battling to keep Newcastle, Southampton target Hooper

Celtic boss Neil Lennon is urging Gary Hooper to resist Premier League offers. The striker is a target for several English clubs, including Newcastle United and Southampton.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon is urging Gary Hooper to resist Premier League offers.

The striker is a target for several English clubs, including Newcastle United and Southampton.

After victory over Inverness Caley, Hooper was asked on television if he would be at Celtic next season and replied "we'll see", but his boss is confident that there is a chance of keeping him, saying: "Yes, that's just my feeling."

Lennon added: "I have made my submissions to the board regarding Gary. I haven't really spoken to his agent lately at length but I would like to keep Gary here because he is such an important player.

"Goalscorers are at a premium, he is only 24 and has got 28 goals this season, 18 in the league. He is two short of having 20-plus goals in the league for the third consecutive season which shows what an important, pivotal player he has been.

"We don't want to break the wage structure because one thing that is important is team spirit. These players, who are not on huge money, have raised the bar here over the last couple of years but we will do what we can to keep him."

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