Friday, 20 December 2013

Celtic manager Neil Lennon fears Celtic duo set for exit

Celtic manager Neil Lennon fears Celtic duo set for exit

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon fears Celtic duo set for exit
Glasgow: Celtic manager Neil Lennon on Friday revealed Joe Ledley and Georgios Samaras are likely to leave the Scottish champions when their contracts expire at the end of the season.

Lennon has been unable to persuade the duo to sign new deals and he fears they are willing to run down their contracts to guarantee they can hit the free agent market.

Ahead of the Scottish Premiership clash with Hearts at Parkhead on Saturday, Lennon was asked if he felt he was more likely to lose Wales midfielder Ledley and Greece forward Samaras than keep them.

Lennon, who also confirmed defender Mikael Lustig faces four months on the sidelines after undergoing a double-hip operation, said: "The honest answer would be, realistically, yes. The contracts are up in the summer.

"We are getting to the point where there will be a lot of speculation about both players but we have made it clear that we are willing to speak to them and we have spoken to Joe already but we have had nothing back.

"They are two players that we don`t want to go but we can`t force them to stay although we are doing everything we can at the minute to do that.

"But we have had no indication of what the players want to do.

"The ball is very much in their court at the minute.

"We are planning for next season anyway but obviously we would like some indication of what they are going to do. It is a difficult situation for us and for them."

Of Lustig, Lennon said the Swedish right-back had been playing through the pain barrier for several months.

But with Sweden failing to reach the World Cup finals and Celtic being eliminated from the Champions League, the decision was taken to have an operation.

The 27-year-old Lustig had been in impressive form for Celtic but Lennon revealed he had been struggling to cope with the injury.

"Lustig had surgery, four months. He had both hips done, so the procedure was a bit more in-depth than first thought," the manager said.

"We are hoping he will be back March/April time but he had a lot of work done which makes his recent performances even more remarkable." ----------------

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