New Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate has told Teesside Live that he wants to keep midfielder Paddy McNair amid reported interest from Scottish champions Celtic over a move for the £5million-rated ace.
The Northern Echo claimed last week that Celtic were willing to meet the 24-year-old’s asking price of £5million, as Neil Lennon looks to bring in the kind of quality capable of pushing Celtic to nine in a row.
McNair, who can play in a number of positions including centre-back, central midfield and right-back, has a contract with Championship side Middlesbrough until the summer of 2022.
Amid the rumours of a move north of the border to Celtic, Woodgate stated that he is keen to keep the 23-time Northern Ireland international and claimed that he has spoken with the midfielder about his future.
“I want to try and keep all my players, that’s without question,” Woodgate said. “Paddy has done really well when he’s played for Northern Ireland.
“OK, fair enough, he had moments where he didn’t play to his capability last season and not in his best position but this year he’ll get a chance.
“Paddy will get a chance. I’ve talked to him on the phone but like I say I’ll have more meetings when we get to Austria but it’s fresh, it’s a fresh canvas. They will get a chance.”
TBR’s view – Celtic needed McNair, after Turnbull failure
It is somewhat of a double blow. Celtic released a statement over the weekend stating that they are saddened by their inability to complete a move for Motherwell teen David Turnbull.
He scored 15 goals from midfield last season and it is clear that Lennon wants a goalscoring midfielder. Seven goals in 28 appearances for Sunderland in the Championship is proof he is capable of that.
Injuries have hampered his progression and McNair would have liked more football than the 78 career outings he has under his belt. But the chance to be first choice at Celtic is now unlikely, after Woodgate’s comments.