AC Milan forward M'Baye Niang has expressed his desire to extend his loan spell at Genoa at the end of the season
AC Milan forward M'Baye Niang has expressed his desire to extend his loan spell at Genoa at the end of the season.
Blackburn have finalised the signing of Ipswich winger Paul Taylor on loan for the remainder of the season.
The race for Gary Hooper's signature is on with the Celtic striker getting plenty of admiring glances from clubs south of the border.
Norwich are Sky Bet's 6/4 favourites to sign the forward but recent reports have suggested QPR are very keen on completing a deal and they are rated at 7/4 by the Leeds-based firm.
Transfer Focus investigates....
Who Wants Him?
Norwich (6/4 to sign Hooper this summer with Sky Bet): The Canaries have been busy during this summer's transfer window with Sporting Lisbon striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel just one of the eye-catching additions. Boss Chris Hughton doesn't appear to be finished yet in his endeavours to add to his squad and there has been speculation over a prolonged period that Hooper is a target. Don't be surprised to see the interest turn into a bid.
QPR (7/4): Harry Redknapp needs some good news to raise the spirits of QPR fans after last season's dreadful showing saw them finish bottom of the Premier League. The signing of Hooper would certainly raise a smile from the Loftus Road faithful but would the striker be prepared to join a Championship club? If sides from England's top-flight come calling that could well be more tempting for the striker.
Hull (13/2): Tigers boss Steve Bruce has played down the chances of another bid for Hooper but there is still plenty of time left for that stance to change. Charlie Austin won't be arriving at the KC Stadium so there is definitely space for a new forward at the newly-promoted Premier League club. Hooper seems to tick all the boxes and we know that Hull have kept track of his progress at Celtic.
Also available with Sky Bet: Nottingham Forest (8/1), West Ham (10/1), Aston Villa (12/1), Sunderland (22/1), Reading (25/1), Cardiff (33/1), Everton (33/1), Newcastle (33/1), Tottenham (33/1)
Sky Bet's Paul Lowery says: "Free-spending Norwich head the betting to sign Gary Hooper but surprisingly the most recent betting support has come for Championship new boys QPR.
"The Hoops are trying to offload high-earners Taarabt and Remy on loan deals, which could free up some wages to bring Hooper in to fire them back to the promised land of the Premier League."
2012/13 season 51 games, 31 goals - Hooper managed to get past the 30-goal mark last term to further prove his credentials to potential suitors. Two of the strikes came in the Champions League group stage as Celtic progressed to the last 16 before being knocked out of the competition by Juventus. He also scored twice in the 3-0 Scottish Cup final victory over Hibs.
2011/12 season 49 games, 29 goals - the campaign ended with Hooper just one strike away from 30 goals in all competitions. His most memorable game was on the final day of the season as he scored all five goals in the 5-0 victory over Hearts.
Hooper won the FA Trophy twice in 2005 and 2006 during the start of his career at non-league Grays Athletic.
Hooper left Grays to join Southend but didn't get the chance to shine during his time at Roots Hall and spent spells out on loan at Leyton Orient and Hereford.
Hooper scored for Scunthorpe in the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in 2009 but it wasn't enough for victory as Luton beat the Iron 3-2 after extra-time.
Hooper scored on his debut for Celtic in the Champions League third qualifying round clash against Portuguese side Braga.
Hooper was included in England's provisional squad for the 2011 European Under-21 Championship but failed to make the final cut.
What Hooper Says
July 2013: "I want to beat my tally from last season, that's the aim because I've done it every season. I also have to get 20 or more league goals because I didn't get it just there, I only got 19. I want to play in the Champions League again, get into the group stages and get that feeling again. I know I wasn't playing in the game against Barcelona but it was still amazing. We also want to retain the title as obviously the league is still our priority."
May 2013: "At the start of the season my aim was to beat last year's goals total and I did that two games ago (before winning the Scottish Cup final). I was unlucky not to get to 20 in the league but I wanted to get past 30 overall and I managed that. This feels even better than the first time we won the Scottish Cup two years ago because we did this one in style. We've also got the league win and the Champions League run behind us as well so this has been my best season at the club."
What Others Say
July 2013, Celtic manager Neil Lennon: "It will be difficult to convince Gary to stay. He has not featured much in pre-season and the games start in earnest for us on Wednesday night. So he'd have a bit of catching up to do and I don't know where his mind is at the minute. Has he played his last game for Celtic? Never say never, but it's looking more and more that way."
July 2013, Hull manager Steve Bruce: "We had a bid for him (Hooper) rejected and I can't see there being any change in that. We've got other irons in the fire and we hope that we can get one or two strikers in before the start of the season. It's obvious that we struggled to score goals last season so that has got to be the aim for us. We've still got six weeks before the season starts and we're actively looking." BBC Radio Humberside
June 2013, Celtic manager Neil Lennon: "We had a bid from Hull City which we rejected. Whether they come again, I don't know. As you were. No set price. The offer made was well below our valuation of the player. We would be very happy for him to stay and if he decides to stay on, contract negotiations may re-open again."May 2013, Celtic manager Neil Lennon: "If Gary needs to go, then he leaves a great legacy, but he'd be one I would be desperate to keep. If he wants to go, he'll be really hard to replace, but we'll do everything we can to keep him. He does have dips, every player does, but it seems when Gary has a dip, everyone accuses him of wanting away. It's absolute rubbish. I've never had to lift him. You have a wee chat with him now and again. He's a very quiet kid, but he knows what we think of him. He's probably one of the first names on my team sheet."
Mail On Sunday, July 14 - Harry Redknapp is set to beat Premier League opposition and sign £5million Celtic striker Gary Hooper for QPR.
Daily Mail, July 12 - QPR are closing in on a deal for Celtic striker Gary Hooper and are prepared to offer £5m.
Daily Express, July 11 - Hull manager Steve Bruce does not anticipate making another attempt to sign Celtic's Gary Hooper.
The Sun, July 6 - Queens Park Rangers are preparing a £4m offer for Celtic striker Gary Hooper, 25, who is also wanted by Norwich City.
Daily Mirror, June 27 - Norwich are poised to win the £5million race for Celtic striker Gary Hooper.
The People, June 23 - Nottingham Forest boss Billy Davies is ready to join the chase for Celtic's Gary Hooper and make a record £5million bid.
The Sun, June 13 - Hull City will make an improved bid for Celtic striker Gary Hooper, 25, after having an offer of £4m rejected by the Scottish champions.
Betting Zone, July 13 (@BettingZone) - QPR slashed to secure Gary Hooper's signature after Neil Lennon concedes the striker could be on the move
Leeds striker Ross McCormack, July 13 (@Rossmccormack44) - I think Celtic have to keep Gary hooper! Be hard to sign any1 better !
Sky Sports Fantasy Football, July 1 (@SkyFantasyFooty) - Gary Hooper is now 1/2 for a move to Norwich this summer. He's scored 82 goals in 138 starts for Celtic, would he join your team?
Jonathan Low of the Reading Post, June 14 (@jonathanl50) - #readingfc boss Nigel Adkins is interested in Gary Hooper, that's for sure. The issue is whether Royals can afford him.
Sky Sports News, June 12 (@SkySportsNews) - Sky sources: Hull make bid in excess of £4m for Celtic striker Gary Hooper #ssn
Sky Bet, January 31 (@SkyBet) - Gary Hooper now 6/5 from 9/1 to join Tottenham with Norwich out to 6/1 #SkyDeadlineDay