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Celtic bids fail for Curtis Davies and Sean St Ledger

Philippe Senderos, Curtis Davies and Sean St Ledger
Senderos joined Everton, Davies is not going on loan, St Ledger bid falls short

Celtic have had their hopes dashed of signing two central defensive targets - Curtis Davies of Aston Villa and Preston's Sean St Ledger.

Villa manager Martin O'Neill ruled out allowing Davies to go to Celtic on loan because the fit-again 24-year-old was needed as back-up to his squad.

And Preston's Darren Ferguson said they would have to substantially increase their offer for 25-year-old St Ledger.

"Celtic have no chance with what they are offering," said the North End boss.

"They have inquired but are a million miles away from getting Sean."

St Ledger, who was in the Preston side beaten 2-0 by Chelsea in Saturday's FA Cup tie, was loaned to Coca-Cola Championship rivals Middlesbrough in September with a view to a permanent transfer being completed in January.

A loan would be absolutely out of the question, especially for a season loan

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill

Preston had hoped to use the money from the sale to pay off debts, but the deal with former Celtic manager Gordon Strachan collapsed and the defender returned to Deepdale in December.

"The value was set when he went to Middlesbrough," said Ferguson, who has since taken over as Preston manager from Alan Irvine, his fellow Scot having paid for a slump in form that followed St Ledger's departure.

"I have had a couple of conversations with Sean and he is perfectly happy here.

"I definitely want to keep him. He is one of the best defenders in the league.

"I have no doubt he can play at a higher level, but there is a valuation. If someone meets it, I might have a different conversation with Sean."

Meanwhile, former Celtic manager O'Neill appeared to confirm that present incumbent Tony Mowbray was keen to link up again with Davies, who had played under him at West Brom.

"I wouldn't be in a position to be wanting to loan players out at this stage," said O'Neill.

"The reason being, of course, is that if you do it internationally between two countries - and Celtic and ourselves would be that - you'd have to do it for the whole of the season."

Davies returned to action as a substitute during Saturday's FA Cup win over Brighton after five months out following shoulder surgery.

Apart from Davies, Villa have just three experienced centre-backs - Richard Dunne, James Collins and former Rangers man Carlos Cuellar - as they push for a Champions League spot and Carling Cup and FA Cup success.

"While it would be great for some of the younger players to get maybe a month's football, we may well need Curtis," said O'Neill. "Things can happen here.

"A loan would be absolutely out of the question, especially for a season loan.


"I'm looking at trying to get some of the younger players games, but I'm mindful of the fact that, after 28 days, we can get them recalled."

Celtic are understood to have also made inquiries about taking Philippe Senderos on loan from Arsenal but backed off after the defender, who on Saturday joined Everton on loan, said he wished to consider other options.

Mowbray had expressed unhappiness since taking over from Strachan about the form of central defenders Gary Caldwell, Stephen McManus and Glenn Loovens.

McManus rejected a move to Ipswich on loan in the summer, but fellow Scotland international Caldwell was this month sold to Wigan Athletic.

Mowbray has bought Jos Hooiveld from AIK Stockholm for a fee of about £2m and 19-year-old Thomas Rogne on freedom of contract from Stabaek, but the former is lacking match fitness while the latter is seen as a longer-term prospect.

So the Celtic manager has in recent games been forced to give a debut to Josh Thompson, the 18-year-old signed from Stockport County in the summer, and to recall Darren O'Dea despite the Irishman's unsuccessful loan spell with Championship strugglers Reading.

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see also
Senderos moves to Everton on loan
25 Jan 10 |  Everton
Rasmussen completes Celtic switch
26 Jan 10 |  Celtic
Mowbray plays down Senderos link
19 Jan 10 |  Celtic
Premier dream inspires St Ledger
16 Sep 09 |  Middlesbrough
Davies undergoes shoulder surgery
09 Sep 09 |  Aston Villa

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