Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama may be headed to English side Southampton after the club kicked off talks with Celtic for a potential record £10million-plus deal (Sh1.4billion) for his signature.
SunSport reported on Thursday that the premiership outfit made contact with the Hoops at the start of the week and are hoping to strike a quick agreement for the midfielder.
But the Saints’ move could also now spark a fierce transfer scrap with other English clubs and potentially some abroad. Arsenal have been trailing the Kenyan over the last year and put him on a shortlist of targets.
New Stoke City boss Mark Hughes is another admirer, having failed with an offer at the start of last season when he was in charge of QPR.
Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool have also been scouting Wanyama, whose storming displays in the Champions League led Uefa to list him as one of the best talents in Europe.
The 21-year-old – who has been on World Cup qualifying duty — has so far resisted attempts by Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell to extend a contract which still has two years to run.
Wanyama has publicly stated his satisfaction with Parkhead life — but he is also ambitious to play at a higher level. He has proved a sensational find since costing a bargain £900,000 from Belgian minnows Beerschot in July 2011.
Now, however, Celtic look poised to cash in big time for Wanyama and shatter their previous record sale figure of £9.5m for Aiden McGeady to Spartak Moscow back in 2010.
A breathtaking £10m move would also set a new Scottish record — putting in the shade past £9m transfers for Craig Gordon and Alan Hutton to Sunderland and Tottenham respectively.
It would be impossible for the Celts board to shun that kind of money.