Newcastle lead the chase for Celtic ace

Gary Hooper Celtic ForwardNewcastle United are set to fight it out with Liverpool in a bid to secure the signature of Celtic centre forward Gary Hooper.

The former Scunthorpe striker has seen his reputation blossom since his move to the SPL, scoring 46 goals in 70 games for his Scottish employers.

Hooper moved to Scotland in a £2.4 million move back in 2010 and it is expected that clubs will have to pay at least double that fee if they expect to land the Bhoys’ ace.

It has been claimed that Newcastle are unlikely to sign a striker in January, now that both Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse will remain on Tyneside during the African Cup of Nations, with Senegal failing to qualify for the tournament.

However, with constant speculation surround the future of Ba, added to the fact that the club were linked to a whole host of strikers in the summer, the move could happen.

Clubs that are interested in the forward will be heartened by the news reported by the Metro that Hooper is “thought to be finding it difficult to agree terms on a new contract with Celtic”.

The 24 year old only has 18 months left to run on his current deal. The lure of the Premier League and the chance to break into the England international fold could prove too great for the 24 year old.

Newcastle are heading into the Tyne-Wear Derby this weekend, having won 53 times in a 143 meetings, and will be looking to add their 54th win when the sides kick off at 13.30 on Sunday.

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