Ange Postecoglou says he remains focused on his job at Yokohama F. Marinos although he is in advanced talks to become Celtic’s next manager.
The club’s board has identified former Australian manager Postecoglou as a target to replace Neil Lennon after negotiations with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe failed.
Celtic are even hoping to secure a deal for their next manager as early as the middle of next week after being impressed with Postecoglou’s domestic and international success in Australia and Japan.
The club believe the 55-year-old’s philosophy of high pressure play and attacking football will quickly win over Celtic fans.
Postecoglou, however, declined to comment on his future after leading his team to a 2-1 victory over Shimizu S-Pulse in the J League.
“Those who know me know that I am focusing on what is in front of me,” he said.
“I understood that there was speculation about the future, but I stopped thinking about the world’s assumptions a long time ago.
“My goal over the last few days has been to make sure we’re playing well.”
Postecoglou has been recommended to Celtic by Fergal Harkin, who is expected to be named the club’s sporting director this summer when he steps down as Manchester City’s director of football partnerships.
The Greek-born Australian manager won two A-League titles before taking the helm of the Socceroos in 2013.
His four years as Australia boss included qualifying for the 2014 World Cup and winning the 2015 Asian Cup.
He led his current side Yokohama to the J League title in 2019.
Why the Howe talks failed
It is believed that there are various factors as to why the negotiations between Celtic and Howe failed, including with regard to backstage staff and personal reasons.
Howe was believed to have insisted on taking Stephen Purches and Simon Weatherstone with him to Parkhead as part of his behind-the-scenes team.
The 43-year-old had initial talks with representatives of Celtic, including majority shareholder Dermot Desmond, in March and became the club’s number one pick to replace Neil Lennon at Parkhead.
In a statement on Friday, Celtic confirmed the failed negotiations and said they intended to announce a new manager “very soon”.
“Following very positive and detailed discussions with Eddie Howe, convinced that he would be an excellent candidate for the Celtic managerial post, we left time for the process, as he had already made it clear that he wasn’t trying to come back. management until this summer at the earliest, ”the press release read.
“We can now confirm that Eddie will not be joining the club, for reasons beyond his control and that of Celtic. We wish Eddie success for the future.
“As part of the ongoing process, we have engaged with a number of candidates. We fully appreciate that our fans will seek clarification on this and we aim, very soon, to announce the appointment of a manager with the quality and the desire to take Celtic forward and bring even more success to our supporters. “
Howe has been associated with a variety of roles since leaving Bournemouth in 2020 after a second eight-year stint as manager at Vitality Stadium during which he led the Cherries to the Premier League.
John Kennedy has been Celtic’s interim manager since Lennon resigned in February, with the club ending the season 25 points behind the Scottish Premiership champions Rangers.
Following the club’s unprecedented quadruple treble, Celtic ended the 2020/21 campaign without a trophy after Rangers won the Premiership and St Johnstone won the Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup.
In a statement earlier this week, the Hoops said they plan to appoint a new manager “soon” as subscription renewal contracts kick off for the upcoming season.
A friendly with Preston at Celtic Park awaits July 17, while their 2021/22 campaign kicks off on July 31.
Staff changes are underway in other areas of the club, with Scott Brown concluding his 14 years at Celtic Park to join Aberdeen as a player-coach.
Peter Lawwell will step down as CEO this summer and will be replaced by Dominic McKay. Desmond said in March that the duo would influence the nomination of Lennon’s successor.