Patrick Roberts: Winger to tell Man City he wants Celtic return despite Nice interest

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Scotland
Patrick Roberts
Patrick Roberts helped Celtic to an unbeaten domestic treble last season

England Under-20 winger Patrick Roberts will tell Manchester City that his preference is to rejoin Celtic on loan.

The 20-year-old spent 18 months with the Scottish champions but is also wanted by Nice and at least two English Premier League clubs.

Celtic assistant Chris Davies confirmed on Monday that his club maintain "a constant dialogue" with Roberts.

"There is always going to be a home for him here if that suits everybody," Davies said.

"They have been talking and the situation is always open to a certain extent because the transfer window is still open.

"We've got the players that are with us working and fighting right now, we've been scoring and creating goals, so if something extra happens then it's all positive, but if not, we're OK."

Nice, who face Napoli in the Champions League play-off round, have already added two players to their midfield options this week, with Wesley Sneijder, previously of Galatasaray, signing on Tuesday following the acquisition of Allan Saint-Maximin from Lique 1 rivals Monaco.

But Roberts is ready to tell his parent club that his own choice would be Celtic.

"All I know from our part is that we value the player, rate the player, and I'm sure if it was right for everybody then something would be done," said Davies.

"But we can't really control that at the moment. We just focus on our work here and see how that one evolves.

"Pat at the moment is playing for Man City, he's featured for them, so I can't comment too much on it."

'We're happy with what we've got'

Davies also confirmed there were no plans to bring in an extra central defender despite injuries to Dedryck Boyata and Erik Sviatchenko ahead of facing Astana of Kazakhstan over two legs on 16 and 22 August for a place in the Champions League group stage.

Erik Sviatchenko and Dedryck Boyata
Defenders Erik Sviatchenko and Dedryck Boyata will both miss the meeting with Astana

Before then, Celtic face Kilmarnock in the League Cup on Tuesday then travel to take on Partick Thistle in the Premiership.

"We've used Nir Bitton, who has played there before and done exceptionally well," said Davies. "Kristoffer Ajer has filled in and Mikael Lustig can fill in as well - and we've got Jozo Simunovic.

"We're happy with what we've got going into tomorrow night. Astana is coming up, but we're comfortable.

"We're not in a desperate situation, we're comfortable and we've got six games coming up in the next 20 days, so we've got a squad we're going to have to use and everybody has to be ready."

Brendan Rodgers and Chris Davies
Davies and Brendan Rodgers have yet to lose a domestic game since joining Celtic last summer

Maloney to return?

Englishman Davies also confirmed that Celtic are talking to former winger Shaun Maloney over a coaching role at the club.

The 34-year-old began his career at Celtic Park, making more than 150 appearances for the Scottish champions, and the player is expected to retire after his proposed summer move to Aberdeen after leaving Hull City fell through because of persistent injuries.

Shaun Maloney
Former player Shaun Maloney took in Celtic's Champions League qualifying clash with Rosenborg

"I can't give you anything definitive - it's something the club are looking at," Davies said. "I've met him once or twice and been really impressed with him as a character and his thoughts on the game.

"He brings a lot of experience as a player and his Celtic connections as well.

"I think he would fit in really well if it were to happen. Any player that's been involved at a club as a player, especially if they've come through the academy, it gives them a good empathy for the players in that academy."

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