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Du Wei pleads with Shenhua to lower price
By MARK WILSON (the Herald)
Updated: 2005-08-17 09:09

Du Wei, the Chinese international defender, has urged Shanghai Shenhua to quickly reach agreement with Celtic and allow him to move.

du wei trains in celtics with nakamura
The Parkhead club remain in negotiations to secure the signing of Du, who impressed Gordon Strachan on a four-day trial earlier this month. Peter Lawwell, Celtic's chief executive, is confident of forcing a reduction in the ˇę800,000 fee that Shenhua have been seeking and hopes to be able to announce a deal for the 24-year-old centre-back soon.

Celtic have already had one bid rejected by Shenhua, leaving Du anxious that they do not hold out again.

"I just hope that Shanghai Shenhua will be kind enough to let me go and taste European football," said Du. "They should give me the chance to enhance my game and prove that I have what it takes to succeed with a major club such as Celtic."

Shenhua were unimpressed by Celtic's initial offer but, with the player determined to move to Scotland, it seems highly likely that a deal will be struck.

Strachan said at the weekend that it could take as long as five months for Du to adapt to Scottish football, but he would first have to cross the hurdle of earning a work permit.

Du's application would automatically be rejected by the Home Office as he has not played in 75% of China's international matches over the past two years. Celtic, though, are confident of winning an appeal by citing the fact he was injured for several months last year and was previously captain of China's Olympic side.

Bobo Bald¨¦'s future at Celtic remains uncertain and Strachan is keen to bring in one, or possibly two, defenders before the transfer window closes at the end of this month. Bald¨¦ has partnered Stephen McManus in recent matches, with Stanislav Varga recovering from injury, and that is the most likely pairing for Saturday's Old Firm match at Ibrox. Adam Virgo was on the bench in Saturday's 3-1 win over Falkirk but Strachan may be unwilling to risk the player, who has not played since May.

Shaun Maloney and Craig Beattie will, meanwhile, both harbour hopes of replacing Maciej Zurawski at Ibrox if Strachan decides to take the under-performing Pole out of his starting line-up.

du wei shanghai shenhua celtics
They will have the opportunity to further enhance their claims this evening when they play for the Scotland Under-21 side in the friendly with Austria in Koflach.

Rainer Bonhof, the Under-21 manager, has said the players will only be withdrawn if Scotland have wrapped up victory, something which has not happened since November 2003.

"I will use them as much as possible so it depends on how the match is going," said Bonhof. "Lee Miller is not here because he has a UEFA Cup match coming up so I want to use these players.

"But I also have the weekend in my mind with Beattie and Maloney. I haven't spoken to Celtic about this yet."

Maloney has impressed this season and Strachan displayed his faith in the 22-year-old by rejecting a loan offer from Aberdeen. Beattie has managed to contribute vital goals but Bonhof is wary of predicting a breakthrough season for the young Scots.

"From what I have seen this season, when they have come in they have either scored or put in a great performance, even in the 4-0 game in the Champions League. When Maloney comes in he makes things run differently."

Stuart Dougal will take charge of Saturday's first Old Firm game of the season.

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