Million-pound fight for Ciftci

Nadir Ciftci

Nadir Ciftci

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WIGAN Athletic boss Gary Caldwell is locked in a £1million fight with his former club Celtic to land Dundee United hotshot Nadir Ciftci.

Latics chief David Sharpe has ‘guaranteed’ the arrival of a 20-goal-a-season striker to fire Latics out of League One at the first attempt.

And the 23-year-old Turk (inset), the scorer of 33 goals in 73 starts during his two years at Tannadice, is their top target.

Celtic recently had a £900,000 bid turned down, but Latics have come up with the extra £100,000 to meet the asking price.

The next job is to persuade the player his future lies south of the border.

Celtic, with the carrot of Champions League football, remain a massive threat to the deal. But United are understood to be unwilling to sell to their domestic rivals.

Middlesbrough are also thought to have an interest, but have not tabled a bid.

Ciftci, who netted 16 times last term, has already made his mark at the DW Stadium, having scored a cracking goal in a 1-0 friendly win for United on his debut in 2013.

He also has experience in England having spent two years at Portsmouth between 2009-11.

After one-year spells with Turkish outfit Kayserispor and NAC Breda in Holland, he kickstarted his career in Scotland.

Ciftci also has a ‘excessive misconduct’ charge 
hanging over his head for allegedly biting Dundee’s Jim McAlister in a 3-0 win – during which he bagged a brace – on May 24. The hearing will take place on July 20 and, if found guilty, he could face a lengthy ban which might delay his debut.

Meanwhile, Latics have already been forced to rearrange three matches next season.

Doncaster’s visit has been moved back to Sunday, August 16 (12.30pm), the home game with Scunthorpe is now on Wednesday, August 19 (7.45pm), and the trip to Swindon has been moved forward to Good Friday, March, 25 (3pm).