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Football: Celtic track German

Celtic are interested in signing the German goalkeeper Richard Golz, who is out of favour with the Bundesliga club Hamburg.

Hamburg's general manager, Bernd Wehmeyer, said yesterday Celtic had made an official inquiry about Golz. "We'll have a look in peace and quiet and then we'll speak to the Scots," he said.

Golz, with Hamburg since 1985, has been demoted to the bench since the arrival of the new coach, Frank Pagelsdorf, in the close season. Pagelsdorf has installed Hans-Joerg Butt, a new signing from VfB Oldenburg, as the first-choice goalkeeper. "I know Celtic are interested. I'd go there straight away," Golz was quoted as saying in the Bild daily.

Press reports said Celtic, under pressure to conclude the deal before today's European transfer deadline, were prepared to pay five million marks (pounds 1.8m) for Golz.

Real Madrid have signed the international defender Aitor Karanka from Athletic Bilbao. Karanka has signed a five-year contract with the Spanish champions. Real are believed to have paid one billion pesetas (pounds 4.1m) to buy out his contract.