Football: Bellamy in Celtic loan move

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The Independent Online
CRAIG BELLAMY last night signed for Celtic on loan until the end of the season after turning down a pounds 6m transfer to Birmingham City.

The 25-year-old Welsh striker had also been discussing the possibility of remaining at Newcastle United despite being told by the manager Graeme Souness that he will never play for him again following their recent row.

It is understood that Bellamy believes Souness will not last in his post after this season or that he can secure a more attractive offer from another Premiership club if he waits. Bellamy wants to join up with the former Wales manager Mark Hughes at Blackburn Rovers, but the club did not have the money to sign him right now - even if they had sold captain Barry Ferguson back to Rangers. A third bid for Ferguson failed yesterday, falling well short of Blackburn's pounds 6m valuation. Bellamy's pounds 45,000-a-week wages - pounds 15,000 more than the highest earners at Ewood Park - were also prohibitive.

Birmingham had - like Portsmouth - attempted to take Bellamy on loan once he had refused a permanent deal and were prepared to pay a fee of pounds 500,000. However, Newcastle did not want him to go to another Premiership club under those terms.

He travelled to Glasgow yesterday to discuss terms. The deal was complicated by the fact that it was conditional on Henri Camara agreeing a loan deal with Southampton. That transfer was completed last night with both clubs also having to reach agreement with Wolverhampton Wanderers, who hold Camara's registration. It had been thought Wolves were interested in taking Southampton's Brett Ormerod as part of the deal but have been paid a six-figure fee instead.

Camara, a Senegalese striker, will be joined at St Mary's by another Newcastle player with the left-back Olivier Bernard, out-of-contract in the summer having refused a new deal, agreeing a pounds 400,000 move.

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