EXCLUSIVE: Pole star Brozek ready to shine at Parkhead but Russell bid fails
Celtic boss Neil Lennon celebrated the capture of Rangers target Pawel Brozek – after a bid for Dundee United's Johnny Russell was kicked into touch by the Tannadice club.
Polish international Brozek has arrived on loan until the end of the season, subject to a medical, with the SPL leaders holding first option to sign the Trabzonspor forward in the summer.
The move came after Celtic, who clinched a League Cup Final place with a 3-1 win over Falkirk yesterday, had an offer of 500,000 plus fringe players for Russell rejected by United last week.
Thumbs up: Brozek at Celtic Park on Sunday after completing his loan switch
The Tayside club, who have revived a deal for Slovakian striker Milos Lacny, are demanding 1million for Russell, who has 18 months left on his contract, and are bracing themselves for an increased offer before the transfer window closes tomorrow night.
Despite Lennon refusing to rule out further deals, Sportsmail understands the capture of Brozek is likely to kill any chance of the Scotland Under-21 star moving to Parkhead this transfer window.
Lennon was thrilled with his fourth signing of the January transfer window, hailing him as a goal-getter who will add serious firepower to his armoury.
But he shied away from claiming a transfer-market victory over rival Ally McCoist, who had openly discussed his interest in the striker, by saying: ‘I don’t know about that. I know Rangers were interested but we’ve been involved with players before where Rangers have nipped in. I’m not saying we’ve nipped in, because we’ve been tracking him for quite a while.
No go: Celtic have failed in a bid to sign Dundee United's Johnny Russell
‘I don’t really get involved with the agents and negotiations. We identify players, I’ve a list as long as your arm, and we’re ticking them off. This one has come to fruition and we’re very pleased about that.
‘Brozek scored a lot of goals in Poland and he’ll give the squad a jag. I can’t keep relying on Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes. If one of them gets injured or suspended, we could be a goalscorer short — and Pawel is a goalscorer.
Pole star: Brozek in action for Poland
‘His record in Poland was excellent. For one reason or another, it hasn’t worked out in Trabzonspor. It might be a different formation or whatever. But what we do know is he’s a goalscorer. Right foot, left foot, he can head the ball as well — and he’s very sharp.
‘The other good thing about him is he’s got the Euros in front of him. He needs to play to stake a claim for the European Championships in his home country. So, he will come here very motivated to play and be successful.
Getting his man: Lennon was delighted to sign Brozek
‘Pawel is a bit like Hooper, sharp with good feet, 5ft 10in and he knows where the goal is. He’s a bit like Maciej Zurawski was when he first came. He’s a family man, too, so I don’t think the bright lights of Glasgow will faze him.’
Lennon insisted Brozek will be in contention to start immediately and is holding out hope of making one more signing before Tuesday’s deadline.
He said: ‘I’m not going to say that’s us done. We might try to get another player in. We have been looking for a physical striker but it’s really hard. We might get one. I can’t say any more but we’re still looking — and will be until midnight Tuesday.’