Celtic keen to sign David James

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The Independent Football

Neil Lennon hopes to convince David James to join Celtic after describing the England goalkeeper as an ideal replacement for Artur Boruc.

Hoops boss Lennon plans to meet 39-year-old James at the end of the week, when the club return from their pre-season tour of America.

James is a free agent after his contract at Portsmouth expired and his capture would help offset the disappointment of the loss of Boruc to Fiorentina.

Although the veteran keeper's wage demands may ultimately scupper a move, Lennon has been encouraged by the fact James' agent made the first move by contacting Celtic.

"We are still a long way off and it's early days in terms of negotiation," said the Northern Irishman.

"But just the fact he is interested is very encouraging from our point of view. I want to get the best goalkeeper I possibly can.

"Not only for the league and Europe but also someone who can fill Artur's shoes - and he's one who can."

Lennon hopes to sell the club in a meeting with James before next week's Champions League third-round qualifying first leg at Sporting Braga.

"He will come up and have a look and see if he fancies it," Lennon said.

"I'd like to speak to him myself and see what he is thinking, but the fact they have made the initial contact is very encouraging."

James' agent Colin Gordon said in the Daily Mail: "I contacted Celtic after what happened with Boruc and we are really just waiting for Neil Lennon and Celtic to come back from America to see if it's something we can progress.

"So there is an interest but nothing more than that at the moment."

James will certainly be leaving Portsmouth after the club decided to look at other options.

The goalkeeper, who had also been linked with a coaching role at Fratton Park, failed to meet an agreed deadline and boss Steve Cotterill and chief executive David Lampitt subsequently withdrew their offer.

"It was a tricky situation. Steve Cotterill and I discussed it at length," Lampitt told the News.

"From my point of view, we did our absolute best in trying to keep him. I would have loved for him to stay at the club.

"We had various meetings with him and the process went on for quite a long time.

"The difficulty for us is that we have got to resolve our goalkeeping situation.

"It got to a point where we needed to have some certainty with only three weeks to go until the new season and we need to look at other options.

"We kept the offer open for as long as we reasonably could to try to give us the best opportunity of retaining him. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened."

Jamie Ashdown is now expected to take over the number one role while the club search for a new addition to the ranks.