Southampton admit failure to sign Celtic's Gary Hooper

Gary Hooper celebrates
Hooper has scored 16 times in his second season with Celtic

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins has all but given up hope of persuading Celtic to part with striker Gary Hooper.

The Championship leaders have already had two bids rejected by the Scottish Premier League pacesetters.

And Adkins told BBC Scotland: "Celtic say they don't want to sell him. So that's it, end of story.

"I know Gary and I'm delighted he's doing so well. He's a top-class striker, but we have other good strikers here, so we move on."

Amid earlier suggestions that Saints were preparing a third bid, Celtic manager Neil Lennon stressed his desire to retain the Englishman.

"The stance hasn't changed," he said.

"The retention of all my key players is key to winning the title and Gary certainly comes into that bracket."

Hooper this week responded to the speculation by issuing a statement via the Celtic website saying he is happy in Glasgow and had no intention of leaving the club.

The striker, who has scored 16 goals this season, played under Adkins at his previous club, Scunthorpe United.

Adkins was still keen to pursue Hooper despite winning an appeal to win a work permit that will allow the signing of Japanese striker Tadanari Lee, who currently plays for Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the J-League.

Southampton have, meanwhile, this week signed midfielder Yago Falque after the Spaniard joined Tottenham Hotspur from Juventus but immediately loaned the 22-year-old to the Championship leaders.

Celtic this week announced the summer capture of Slask Wroclaw defender Jaroslaw Fojut, while former PSV Eindhoven playmaker Rabiu Ibrahim won a contract after a successful trial.

Top Stories