Celtic are on the cusp of making a move for Newcastle winger Ryan Fraser, who is very clearly surplus to requirements at St. James' Park, according to Scott Wilson writing in today's Northern Echo.
The diminutive Scottish winger has been training with Newcastle's younger players throughout the summer after he stopped being a regular choice for Eddie Howe last season and was subsequently "excluded" from the senior squad.
Fraser didn't feature in any of the Magpies' pre-season matches and even lost his shirt number to Tino Livramento, with Howe's most recent comments on the situation being as follows:
"I think with those players (Fraser, Isaac Hayden, and Jeff Hendrick), in particular, it is very difficult for us as a football club because, in an ideal world for their careers, we’d want them to go and play football and have a good career at another football club.
But there’s all sorts of difficulties associated with it – contract length, the amount of money they are earning – and it is finding a football club that they want to go to as well. They are all great lads. I have no issue with any of them and I wish them well, but let’s see what happens."
The former Aberdeen and Bournemouth winger still has two years left to run on his contract, but it appears that Brendan Rogers is set to give him a lifeline. It's said that the Celtic manager wants another player like Fraser in his team, and Fraser himself would no doubt be a star in the Scottish Premiership.
In his article, Wilson also tentatively links Hayden to Southampton, but there have been absolutely no rumours at all about Hendrick this summer following a poor loan spell at Reading last term. It's not going to be easy to move any of them on, but a return to one of Scotland's "big two" has always looked like a viable option for Fraser.
It's said that Newcastle won't demand a "significant fee" for any of the trio, but we'd be amazed if the club managed to recoup anything. Even if we can just get 100% of their wages off the books, it has to be looked at as a good piece of business by Dan Ashworth and Co.