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Lennon keen to keep Hooper at Celtic

23 Jan 2013 07:47:08

Lennon keen to keep Hooper at Celtic

Neil Lennon reiterated his desire to keep Gary Hooper at Parkhead after the Celtic striker grabbed a double in the 4-0 home Clydesdale Bank Premier League win over Dundee United.

Before kick-off Lennon confirmed that Hooper had turned down a contract offer while also revealing that the club had turned down another approach from Norwich after rejecting a bid, reported to be about £5million, for the 24-year-old last week.

Lennon said: "Norwich came in with an improved offer, if you can call it that. It was rejected immediately. In terms of his contract, that has been on the table since October and there has been no improvement on that offer but we feel it is a very good offer. But we respect Gary and his representatives' decision on that."

He added: "That may change, we hope it does but I am pretty confident that on the 1st of February Gary will be a Celtic player which is what we all want."

Hooper, who has 18 months left on his current deal, was unaffected by all the fuss around him as he converted a Georgios Samaras pass in the 19th minute before midfielder Victor Wanyama headed in number two before the break.

The former Scunthorpe striker struck again 10 minutes from time to take his season's tally to 22 before he set up substitute Scott Brown for the fourth.

Afterwards the Celtic boss revealed the offer to Hooper would be coming off the table on February 1 but he was clearly annoyed at the recent turn in developments.

Lennon added: "I think in the last eight weeks he has improved his game no end and not just with goals. His all-round game is fantastic at the minute and for his age I think he is one of the best players in Britain.

"Norwich can do their business any way they like. I am annoyed that it has come out publicly and I am annoyed that the rejection of the contract has come out the last couple of days when it has been the status quo for the last three months.

"Why make it public now when they knew they weren't happy with the contract two or three months ago? They are doing what they perceive to be their job, that's fine, it happens in football but our position is pretty clear, he is not going anywhere."


PA

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