Celtic move for Wright denied

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The Independent Online
Arsenal have dismissed reports that Ian Wright could be bound for Celtic - but the England striker was dropped to the substitutes' bench for last night's FA Carling Premiership match at Blackburn Rovers.

Wright signed a long-term contract extension when George Graham was the manager at Highbury. Graham was sacked a fortnight ago - and the new manager, Stewart Houston, has made it clear that he wants to keep all his players at Highbury.

Arsenal's managing director, Ken Friar, called Wright's Celtic connection "newspaper speculation. We haven't heard anything about it."

Wright is the latest in a succession of strikers to be linked with the Scottish Premier Divison club, who are also said to be keen on Liverpool's Nigel Clough. "We refuse to confirm or deny transfer speculation", a spokesman for the Glasgow club said.

The Celtic manager, Tommy Burns, was involved in some rather more mundane transfer business yesterday: Mike Galloway's permanent move to Leicester City is back on.

Mark McGhee, the Leicester manager, had wanted to extend Galloway's loan period at Filbert Street for a further two months. Celtic insisted they would prefer a permanent transfer and it seemed the player, who did not figure in Leicester's game at Queen's Park Rangers last night, would be returning north. However, Burns said yesterday: "I'm waiting for a call from Leicester right now. It's alive again and I'm hopeful something can be agreed."

Celtic seem likely to be asking for around £250,000 for the 29-year-old Galloway, who has played six times for Leicester during his one-month loan period.

Burns is also close to sealing a new deal with one of his prize assets - the converted central defender Brian O'Neil.

The 22-year-old former midfielder has been a big success at centre-half since being moved into defence in October, and recently won a Scotland B cap in his new position.

O'Neil, who will play against Kilmarnock in the Tennents Scottish Cup quarter-final tomorrow before starting a two-match ban, is in contract talks with Burns.

"I'm still talking to Brian and his agent," the Parkhead manager said. "I would hope something can be agreed within the next week or so."

Bryan Robson, the Middlesbrough player-manager, has assured the Ayresome Park fans that the club will do their best to keep their German striker, Uwe Fuchs, who has scored six goals in his last five games after arriving on loan from Kaiserslautern. Middlesbrough have agreed a fee of £500,000 with the Bundesliga club.

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