Sunderland defender Adam Matthews could leave the Stadium of Light on a free transfer this summer, and the race is hotting up for the right-back – and Celtic have to join that race.
The Chronicle claim the 27-year-old may leave Sunderland, and there are three Championship clubs said to be interested in the four-time Scottish Premiership winner.
Sheffield Wednesday, Queens Park Rangers and Barnsley all said to be interested in signing the Wales international. Even if Sunderland win the play-off final, a decision is yet to be made on whether a new deal will be offered.
That is because Matthews is one of Sunderland’s highest earners, as he remains one of four players still on the books that played for Sunderland in the Premier League – along with Bryan Oviedo, Lee Cattermole and Donald Love.
But if Matthews is not offered a new deal, Celtic simply have to lure the defender back to Parkhead to finally solve a gaping hole on the right side of Neil Lennon’s defence.
Mikael Lustig is leaving, Jeremy Toljan has not done enough to earn a permanent deal and Anthony Ralston is way below the standard required of being Celtic’s first-choice right-back.
Matthews, meanwhile, is perfect. On a free transfer, Celtic would be landing a player that has played 150 times for Celtic, winning four Scottish Premiership medals, one Scottish Cup and one League Cup.
Still only 27 years of age, Matthews has plenty of time left in his career. But most importantly, Matthews was signed by Lennon from Cardiff City in 2011, and was crucial in the first four league wins of eight in a row.
If signed by Lennon for second time at Celtic, Matthews would solve the right-back issue for nothing, and help finish what he started – the run towards 10 in a row.