Celtic keen to resurrect swoop for Newcastle United striker Leon Best

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CELTIC are eyeing up Newcastle striker Leon Best.

The Republic of Ireland international looks set to leave the Sports Direct Arena after slipping down the pecking order.

With just a year left on his contract, Best will be offered to clubs, including Scottish champions Celtic, as Newcastle look to let a number of their squad members leave.

Best had the chance to join the Bhoys on transfer deadline day in January, but opted to stay at Newcastle and fight for his place. But he picked up a knee injury against Aston Villa and was substituted for new signing Papiss Demba Cisse – who went on to bag 13 goals in 14 Premier League appearances.

Even when Best returned from injury, he was unable to add a single minute to his appearance tally of 21 games, with Cisse, Demba Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa making up the Tynesiders’ front three, and Shola Ameobi proving to be Alan Pardew’s preferred replacement.

First-team chances are likely to be limited again when the new season kicks off, even with the added fixtures the Europa League brings, meaning Best must weigh up his options this summer.

A source close to the 26-year-old said: “Leon had the chance to go last January, but chose to stay on.

“He’s expecting opportunities to go again this summer, but will wait to see what happens. He likes it at Newcastle and wouldn’t have a problem staying on.”

The situation could change if Newcastle fail to hold on to Ba, who has a £7million release clause in his contract and is interesting a host of top clubs.

Cisse has also been linked with a number of Premier League outfits, but he insisted: “I am very happy in Newcastle and I want to stay there for many years.”