Celina a prime Ipswich Town transfer target but deal could yet be hijacked
- Credit: Stephen Waller
Former Ipswich Town loanee Bersant Celina is a prime transfer target this summer but the Blues are likely to face serious competition to land the attacker.
It’s understood Town have been quietly working on the ambitious deal for the former Manchester City player for more than a month which, if completed, would see the 24-year-old return to the club he impressed at during a loan spell in 2017/18. Town's interest was first reported by TWTD.
He’s now with French club Dijon who, following relegation from Ligue 1 at the end of last season, are keen to cut costs at a time when the game across the Channel has been hit by crisis, due to an ongoing struggle to sell television rights for the top two divisions.
It’s understood Celina has shown real interest in Ipswich’s plan this summer and would be open to the move, but there are fears Town’s bid to convince him to play in English football’s third tier could be hijacked by interest from higher up the pyramid.
Championship clubs, including newly-promoted Hull City and Coventry City, are thought to be keen while there is also understood to be interest from the Dutch top flight, where Celina has previously played for FC Twente.
The signing of Celina, who scored eight goals in 38 games during his time working under Mick McCarthy in Suffolk, would be a real statement for the new regime at Ipswich Town as they launch their League One promotion bid this summer.
He joined Dijon a year ago in a deal said to be worth in the region of £3million, having previously scored seven goals over two seasons at Swansea after joining the Liberty Stadium for a similar fee in the summer of 2018.
Six new faces have arrived at Portman Road already, with Wes Burns, Lee Evans, Rekeem Harper, Macauley Bonne, Vaclav Hladky and Matt Penney all signed, and plenty more expected to follow.
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Firepower in the final third, both centrally and from wide areas, is top of the agenda as Paul Cook bids to turn a side which struggled so badly in front of goal last season into one capable of a serious promotion challenge.
Meanwhile, the Blues are understood to be keen on Almeria’s young England international forward Arvin Appiah.
Appiah, 20, is left-footed but predominantly operates on the right wing, but is comfortable on either flank or in a central role.
The Amsterdam-born 20-year-old, with Ghanaian heritage, grew up in Nottingham and came through the ranks at Forest, where he made seven appearances as a teenager, scoring once.
His breakthrough and clear potential saw him capped by England up to Under 19 level and ultimately saw him make a surprise £8million move to Almeria in 2019, a Spanish second division club recently bought with Saudi money.
He signed a contract which is thought to expire in the summer of 2024 but the move has not worked out, with Appiah making just 10 league starts for Almeria over two seasons and ultimately finishing the 2020/21 campaign on loan elsewhere in the second tier, with Lugo.