Neil Lennon confirmed on Wednesday night that Christopher Jullien is poised to become a Celtic player in the next 48 hours – while a deal for David Turnbull is still in the pipeline.
As Sportsmail first revealed, the Parkhead club are also closing in on Rapid Vienna left back Boli Mbombo, although Kieran Tierney will not be going anywhere unless Arsenal get closer to the £25million price tag on the player’s head.
Jullien, the 26-year-old powerhouse Toulouse defender, is set to become Lennon’s first summer signing, with the finishing touches now being put to his £7m deal.
Christopher Jullien (right) is poised to become a Celtic player in the next 48 hours
Celtic boss Neil Lennon confirmed the defender’s impending arrival on Wednesday night
The former French youth international is poised to offer competition to Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic after the departures of Filip Benkovic and Dedryck Boyata.
Admitting the deal was all but done, Lennon said: ‘We are getting close with Jullien. Hopefully, we can get something sorted in the next day or so. We have been tracking him for a while and we like what we see with him.
‘Negotiations have gone well, so it’s a case of getting the paperwork sorted. I like him. He’s a dominant type and very powerful. We are just looking for a bit more pace and power in the team to add a jag to the squad. He’s a quality player and he’s had a couple of really good years in the top echelons of French football.
‘Hopefully, we can get it over the line, but it’s not done yet. If we get it done, we’d look to get him to Austria as soon as possible.’ Turnbull’s protracted move to Parkhead took an extraordinary twist on Tuesday when it emerged the £3m deal with Motherwell was in danger of collapsing after an issue was flagged up during his medical.
A deal for Motherwell’s David Turnbull is still in the pipeline for the Scottish Premiership kings
It’s believed the 19-year-old may now need a minor operation on his knee. Lennon, however, is adamant the player could yet join Celtic if an agreement can be thrashed out between all parties.
‘It’s still ongoing,’ he said. ‘There’s still discussions going on between the clubs, but we’re still positive that we want him here.’ Asked if there was a good chance of still signing him, Lennon added: ‘That would be between the two clubs to try to get some deal sorted out.
‘But we are still very much in discussions with them. There has been a glitch with the medical, as you know. That’s through no fault of David’s.
‘We still want him here – me and the club as a whole. We are still backing the lad and we want him to be part of the club, regardless of the injury. Discussions are ongoing with Motherwell and, hopefully, we can get a positive resolution. We are not out of it, put it that way.
‘David might have to go through some short-term pain for long-term progress..’ Belgian full back Mbombo tops Celtic’s lists of left back targets although they are still monitoring Nice’s Romain Perraud. A proposed deal for Copenhagen right back Peter Ankersen has hit the buffers.
The Parkhead club are also closing in on a deal for Rapid Vienna left back Boli Mbombo
As things stand, though, Tierney is going nowhere with Lennon insisting that Arsenal’s one and only offer to date of £15m is miles away from Celtic’s valuation.
Asked if there had been any further bids, he said: ‘Not that I’m aware of. Arsenal are aware of what we value the player at. He’s on a long-term contract, he’s an asset and we don’t want to sell him.
‘It’s going to have to take a lot more than what they’ve offered the first time around to give us a decision to make.
‘I’ve had a chat with him as it can be a difficult decision and a bit unsettling. I’ve been there myself, so it’s important we support him regardless of the outcome.
‘His fitness progress is slow. It will be a couple of weeks yet.’ Lennon (below) was speaking after his side beat Austrian minnows Pinkafeld 6-1 in the first game of their pre-season camp, with Leigh Griffiths scoring after six months out with personal issues.
Kieran Tierney will not be going anywhere unless Arsenal get closer to his £25million valuation
‘It’s great for him,’ Lennon said. ‘He’s got a lot of work to do, we know that, but he’s back scoring goals and back playing football which is really important for him. It’s been a difficult time for him. It’s been a long road back, but it’s like having a new player.
‘We’ve got (Maryan) Shved and (Vakoun Issouf) Bayo coming into the team as well, and I’m really pleased to see their conditioning and the way they’re playing at the minute.
‘From Leigh’s point of view, it’s great to see him back integrated into the squad and doing what he does best. Let’s get him back to normal as soon as possible.
‘He’s a natural footballer and, in training, he’s been looking better and better the longer we’ve gone on. It was a difficult week for him last week with some of the fitness work we give the players, but he got stronger as the week went on.
‘He’s going well, he’s at the level we expect him to be at, and there’s more to come from him. He’s in a good place. The club have been really good and he’s responded to that, so we want to put that episode of his career and his life behind him, look forward and get him back scoring goals.’