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Celtic close to announcing Boston date with Newcastle


Money in FootballCeltic and Newcastle United are close to announcing two pre-season friendlies in Boston and Dublin.

Two sets of dates have been set aside for the matches which are designed to give Ronny Deila’s side the ideal preparation for next season’s Champions League qualifiers.

Last season Deila was unhappy with the hoops pre-season schedule which saw them make two visits to Germany and one to Finland in-between Champions League qualifiers.

As part of Celtic’s new kit deal with New Balance they will spend a week training at Boston’s futuristic King Complex where the squad will undertake the most demanding aspect of their pre-season conditioning.

At the end of that week they will play a high profile friendly at Fenway Park with details about the opposition, likely to be Newcastle, expected to be announced in the next 48 hours.

Celtic played a friendly at Fenway Park against Sporting Lisbon in July 2010 which triggered the initial interest in the club with New Balance.

The matches against Newcastle are independent of the new kit deal but stem from Fraser Forster’s time in Glasgow.

Despite barely being on the radar of the Newcastle management team Celtic took the keeper on loan twice before completing a £1.5m deal to make the move permanent in 2012.

Newcastle chiefs laughed when Neil Lennon went public about getting Forster an England cap but after picking up just over £1m from the sell-on clause that took the keeper to Southampton are keen to work closer with the Scottish champions.

A source in Newcastle admitted: “We thought that Lenny had lost it man when he offered £1.5m for big Fraz. When he played for England eyebrows were raised then big Mike went loopy when he was sold for £12m after going to the World Cup.

“After that relationships between the two boardrooms have been close with the pre-season matches confirming the link. Nothing formal will be announced between the clubs but at a number of key levels they are working closely together, ha’way the hoops, man.”

Mike Ashley has little interest in the arrangement but is happy to back his people at St James Park if they feel that there is profit to be made through an informal tie up with Celtic.

The hoops already work closely with Manchester City with Newcastle hoping to get a slice of the action through various channels as they watch Jason Denayer develop along the Forster route with the Geordies interested in signing the Belgian defender for next season.

Celtic are unlikely to be signing any Newcastle starlets on loan this summer but, with only the fine detail of the matches in Boston and Dublin to be completed, are interested in establishing informal ties with a profitable Premiership outfit.

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