Sheffield United: Celtic will adopt this increasingly familiar tactic if they decide to firm-up their interest in George Baldock

Celtic will tear a page out of Arsenal’s playbook and refuse to meet Sheffield United’s valuation of George Baldock if their new manager Ange Postecoglou instructs officials at Parkhead to make an official approach for the Sheffield United defender.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 3:30 pm

The Star revealed over the weekend that Baldock’s name has been included on a list of potential new signings approved by Postecoglou following his arrival in Glasgow last month.

Crucially, although the 28-year-old has long been a person of interest at Celtic Postecoglou has now personally endorsed their decision to monitor his situation after striking-off some of the possibilities identified by the former Scottish Premier League champions’ recruitment department.

Sources north of the border report they are prepared to pay between £5m and £8m for Baldock - a figure which is likely to fall well short of what United would demand before even contemplating the prospect of doing business.

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However like Arsenal, who are showing no inclination to meet United’s asking price for the wing-back’s team mates Aaron Ramsdale and Sander Berge, Celtic believe market conditions following the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with the fact Baldock’s employers were relegated from the Premier League last term, means a compromise could be reached.

With Slavisa Jokanovic making his first public appearance at the Steelphalt Academy YESTERDAY after accepting the challenge of trying to lead United back into the top-flight, owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Jan van Winckel, the Saudi Arabian’s de facto director of football, have privately stressed that no frontline talents will be leaving South Yorkshire unless an astronomical bid is received.

Berge is the exception to that rule, with an intermediary granted the authority to act on the duo’s behalf encouraging interest from both north London and Napoli, where head coach Luciano Spalletti is thought to have given his blessing to the idea of bringing the Norway international to Campania.

Previously of MK Dons, Baldock joined United from MK Dons in the summer of 2017 for a fee thought to be in the region of £300,000. He signed a contract extension before Christmas, although that deal is known to have contained a salary reduction clause in the event of United sliding back into the Championship.

George Baldock during pre-season training with Sheffield United
George Baldock in action for Sheffield United last season: Andrew Yates / Sportimage