Taylor expects to keep Lennon

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The Independent Online

The Leicester City manager, Peter Taylor, has told Celtic that they will have to pay £8m if they want to sign the midfielder Neil Lennon - but heremains confident that theplayer will stay at Filbert Street and sign a new contract.

The Leicester City manager, Peter Taylor, has told Celtic that they will have to pay £8m if they want to sign the midfielder Neil Lennon - but heremains confident that theplayer will stay at Filbert Street and sign a new contract.

Taylor said his "gut feeling" was that the Northern Ireland international would remain with the Foxes, whom he joined five years ago from Crewe for £500,000. Lennon will make his mind up by the end of the week over whether he wants to move to his boyhood heroes -assuming Celtic match Leicester's valuation of the player.

The Leicester chairman, John Elsom, has said that £6.5m would be "unacceptable" - the bid that Celtic are reported to have made for Lennon.

Taylor said: "At the moment I am still quietly confident that Neil Lennon will line up against Aston Villa in the first game of the season.

"It's a difficult time for Neil. He knows all about the Celtic situation and he knows Martin O'Neill is up there, but he also likes playing here and is being a real professional at themoment.

"I am saying that by the end of the week everything will be cleared up. If that doesn't happen - i.e. Celtic don't come and pay £8m - then Neil will sign a new contract.

"Neil also feels that it has got to be sorted out this week. That's part of the agreement with Neil and ourselves and his advisor."

Lennon, who has beenoffered a new contract reportedly worth £30,000 a week, still has three years left of his current deal with Leicester.

Aston Villa's former Leicester striker Julian Joachim is bracing himself for verbal abuse from both sets of supporters in his opening Premiership game at Filbert Street on 19 August. Joachim, who was booed by Leicester fans when he moved to Villa, will get the same treatment from his current club's supporters after requesting a transfer. "It's depressing when the fans start booing, but I just try to let it go in one ear and out the other," he said.

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