Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic side look set to miss out on the signing of Alex Murphy this summer.
That’s according to Miles Starforth, with the Shields Gazette journalist revealing on Twitter that the Galway United defender is now close to agreeing a switch to Newcastle United in the summer transfer window.
In his tweet, Starforth said: “As reported elsewhere, Newcastle hope to sign 17-year-old Galway defender Alex Murphy, who has been playing first-team football this season. Understand that the deal’s not done yet, though. He’d join the club’s U23 squad.”
A further report by RTE also claimed that the Republic of Ireland under-19 international had rejected the opportunity to join Celtic, Brighton & Hove Albion and Torino in favour of a move to St James’ Park.
Considering the sheer amount of potential Murphy seems to possess, and with Celtic reported to have been in negotiations with the centre-back’s representatives regarding a move to Parkhead this summer, the suggestion that the 17-year-old is now set for a move south of the border is certainly bad news for the Bhoys.
Indeed, after making his first-team debut at the age of just 16 last June, Murphy has quickly established himself as a regular in John Caulfield’s side, with the 57-year-old said to have extremely high hopes for the teenage sensation.
Speaking shortly after Murphy penned professional terms with Galway, Caulfield said: “He’s one of our own, and we’re delighted to have him sign a professional contract, his first professional contract in what we hope will be a great career.
“We have high hopes for him, and we can see his talent. The most important thing now for Alex is to work hard and continue his progress. It’s a great day for the club – and our academy.”
With Celtic having signed both Liam Scales and Johnny Kenny from Irish clubs in the last 12 months, the Hoops hierarchy may well have felt that they held the upper hand in the race for the young defender, as Scales’ 13 first-team appearances this season shows a clear pathway to senior football at Parkhead.
However, with Murphy likely being offered a much more enticing salary in a move to Newcastle, Celtic now look as if they have missed out on the signing of the “elegant ” and “ball-playing centre-back“, in the words of Galway academy coach Martin Devlin. That will come as a huge blow to the Bhoys, as the 17-year-old looks to be a player heading for great things in the game.