Celtic lead race to sign Fortune with talks 'in next 48 hours'

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Celtic are set to begin formal negotiations with Quinton Fortune within 48 hours. The South Africa international was released by Manchester United at the end of the season after failing to hold down a regular first-team place at Old Trafford following a knee injury.

The 29-year-old utility player visited Celtic Park last Friday for an informal meeting with the Celtic manager, Gordon Strachan.

Bolton and Manchester City are also interested in Fortune but the player's agent, Francis Martin, said he is hoping to begin serious talks with the Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell tomorrow. Martin said: "Hopefully, we will speak to Peter Lawwell on Thursday. The meeting is not 100 per cent set up yet, but we hope that's when we will be speaking to Celtic. We don't know if they will make an offer straight away but, hopefully, we will begin talks.

"We have to make sure everything is right from a financial point of view and also from a football point of view especially from the football side of things because Quinton just wants to play regularly again.

"If an offer is on the table, then he will have to decide whether he wants to stay in the north-west of England or a clean break and try a new league altogether. I will sit down with Quinton and his wife and he will have a decision to make.

"But I can't really say whether Quinton is leaning towards Celtic or not. There are pluses there but there are pluses at other clubs who are interested."