Celtic reach ‘verbal agreement’ with CF Montreal over defender, Rangers ace breaks silence on transfer exit talk

The latest Celtic and Rangers transfer news and headlines on Friday

With the FIFA World Cup in full swing, Celtic and Rangers are busy preparing for the resumption of domestic football and the upcoming January transfer window.

Here are the latest headlines involving the two clubs today:

Celtic reach ‘verbal agreement’ with MLS club over defender

The Hoops have reportedly reached a ‘verbal agreement’ with MLS side CF Montreal for defender Alistair Johnston.

Alistair Johnston is on the verge of joining Celtic from Montreal.

GlasgowWorldreported yesterday that the Scottish champions were weighing up a bid for the Canadian international, who is currently starring at the World Cup in Qatar.

The 24-year-old has previously attracted European interest but Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou is eager to complete a deal before the FIFA tournament ends in Mid-December.

Transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano claims the Parkhead club has an understanding in principle with Montreal over a transfer fee ahead of the right-back finalising personal terms. He tweeted: “Celtic have reached verbal agreement with Montreal to sign Alistair Johnston on permanent deal, now waiting for final details. Johnston’s contract will be discussed in order to get the deal done and sealed.”

Nakamura lands first coaching role

Ex-Celtic star Shunsuke Nakamura has taken his first steps into coaching just four weeks after retiring from professional football at the age of 44.

The former Japanese international, who won three league titles, two League Cups and a Scottish Cup during his four-year spell at Parkhead, became an instant fans favourite due to his exquisite free-kick and technical abilities.

Nakamura has now accepted a first-team coaching role at J1 League side Yokohama FC, where he called time on his playing career. A statement read: “From the 2023 season, Mr Shunsuke Nakamura will be appointed as the Yokohama FC top team coach.”

Commenting on the role, he said: “I am very happy to go into battle with Yokohama FC again next season, I want to take on the challenge from scratch, trying all sorts of new things and learning through trial and error.”

Defender breaks silence on transfer exit talk

Ridvan Yilmaz has rubbished transfer speculation linking him with a Rangers exit in January as he pledged his future to the club.

The 21-year-old defender joined the Ibrox side in the summer from Besiktas for around £5million but has struggled to displace Croatian international Borna Barisic at left-back.

Yilmaz has started just two games in the Scottish Premiership, leading to reports suggesting he could look elsewhere in search of regular football with Galatasaray credited with an interest.

However, the arrival of a new manager could spark a career revival and Yilmaz has shut down any rumours claiming he might quit Rangers to return to his homeland.

Yilmaz admitted: “I want to play in the top leagues in Europe until the age of 28 or 29 at least and prove myself. So I have no intention of returning to Turkish football right now.”

Gers labelled ‘too small’ for Champions League

Former Ajax manager Aad de Mos has labelled Rangers “too small” for the Champions League and claimed they are worse than Celtic.

Dutchman Aad de Mos had his say on Rangers’ Champions League disappointment

The Light Blues ended up bottom of a tough section alongside Napoli, Liverpool and Ajax with zero points and a goal difference of minus 20 - a record which earned them the unwanted tage as the ‘worst ever’ group stage team.

Dutchman de Mos believes it’s unfair to lay the blame entirely on sacked boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst, but claimed the Glasgow giants were lucky to beat PSV Eindhoven in the play-offs to qualify for the group stage of the competition.

Speaking to Soccernews.nl, he said: “You can’t entirely blame Van Bronckhorst. Rangers are always compared to Celtic in Scotland. Celtic play better football and have better players.

“Rangers were too small for the Champions League, they would have been better off playing in the Europa League. It was a flattered victory over PSV. In football you have no guarantees whether you stay or not, you start at zero.”