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In The Know reporter Hendry breaks down Celtic’s bid for Maik Nawrocki

Celtic are believed to be in the driving seat in the race to sign Maik Nawrocki but that will only mean something if the defender is signed and delivered to Brendan Rodgers.

Word broke on Thursday afternoon about Celtic’s interest in the 22-year-old central defender with Galatasaray also on the trail.

Although Rodgers was diplomatic following his side’s 6-4 defeat from Yokohama F Marinos he did reference goals that shouldn’t be lost.

After clinching the SPFL title at Tynecastle on May 7 the hoops lost nine goals in their next three matches with much of that put down to the joint absences of Cameron-Carter-Vickers and Alistair Johnston.

Those two might still be out of action for another month which seems to have forced the Recruitment Team into action.

Covering developments from Poland, Mark Hendry of Football Scotland reports:

Celtic’s move to bring in Maik Nawrocki will cost around £4million plus a hefty 15 percent sell-on fee.

The Hoops are closing in on a move for the Polish defender, with Galatasaray remaining the main fierce competition for his signature this summer. Football Scotland understands Nawrocki, 22, is wanted by the Parkhead club who are willing to spend the money to move for the centre-half this summer.

Brendan Rodgers is believed to be after a new defensive target and wants Nawrocki in the door in a bid to compete with both Carl Starfelt – who struggled against Yokohama F Marinos – and Cameron Carter-Vickers. The American faces a few weeks out of action into the new campaign following surgery.

Football Scotland understands the fee to be paid would be separated between £2million up front and then £2million paid in the new year as part of the agreement.

Last June Hendry was first with the news of Celtic’s interest in Alexandro Bernabei.

The breakdown of the deal will be on less interest to Rodgers than having a first team ready defender added to his squad and instantly available.

Nawrocki was in the Legia Warsaw side that played against Leicester in the 21/22 Europa League, losing 3-1 at the KP then winning 1-0 at home.

If a deal can be concluded this weekend the Polish u-21 cap can train with his new team-mates and look to be involved in the friendlies against Wolves and Athletic Bilbao.

In the defeat from Yokohama F Marinos Rodgers started with Yuki Kobayashi and Carl Starfelt in central defence and finished the match with Stephen Welsh and Liam Scales in place.

Against Gamba Osaka he is going to give most of his squad 45 minutes with most interest being shown in the central defensive pairing.

Kobayashi suffered an ankle injury against Yokohama which resulted in his substitution, Celtic365 understands that Rodgers has already decided that the former Vissel Kobe defender is surplus to requirements with J-League clubs informed of his availability.

Under Ange Postecoglou central defence was one area of the park that the manager didn’t like to rotate. Following the winter break in the 21/22 season Starfelt and Carter-Vickers played every minute of the remaining SPFL matches with Welsh and Chris Jullien left on the sidelines.

Last season Starfelt had two spells out injured in the first part of the season while Carter-Vickers delayed knee surgery to get Celtic through to the final of the Scottish Cup.

If Nawrocki is signed that would provide Rodgers with what appears to be three first pick central defenders- and probably increase the likelihood of Welsh and Scales moving on for first team football.

Saturday’s match kicks off at 11am with Gamba sitting in 13th place in the J-League, the Celtic squad is due back in Glasgow on Monday but the recruitment process is likely to be a 24/7 operation with the Korean duo of Yang Hyun-jun and Kwon Hyeok-kyu appearing well down the line to joining the Scottish champions.

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