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Page last updated at 14:36 GMT, Saturday, 16 January 2010

Celtic aim to sign Portsmouth striker John Utaka

John Utaka
Utaka joined Portsmouth from Rennes in 2007

By Chris McLaughlin

Portsmouth's 25-year-old Nigeria striker John Utaka is a target for Celtic manager Tony Mowbray.

Utaka arrived at Fratton Park from French side Rennes in 2007 on a four-year deal for a reported £7m.

Cash-strapped Portsmouth are keen to offload players, although Utaka's wage demands could be a barrier.

Meanwhile, Celtic target Nickia Jelavic has committed his future to Rapid Vienna, while Birmingham are expected to up their offer for Aiden McGeady.

Celtic manager Tony Mowbray said on Friday that admirers of winger McGeady should forget about preparing offers.


Birmingham made an enquiry about McGeady's availability earlier this month but were told the 23-year-old was not for sale.

"Aiden's a very important player for our club in what we're trying to build here," explained Mowbray.

Responding to reports of a possible fresh approach from Birmingham, he said "there's no interest whatsoever in listening to bids".

However, BBC Scotland has learned the Premier League side are preparing to increase their offer to sign the Republic of Ireland international.

Croatian striker Jelavic, who scored three times against the Celtic in this season's Europa League group stages, said he would prefer to stay in Austria until the end of the season.

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see also
Pompey 'working hard' to pay debt
15 Jan 10 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth capture striker Utaka
11 Jul 07 |  Portsmouth

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