SPL: Mulgrew To Be Lennon's First Signing, But Who Else Will Join Celtic?

Sean Hartnett@HartnettWFANCorrespondent IJune 28, 2010

SOUTHEND, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 12: Charlie Mulgrew of Southend United in action during the Coca Cola League One Match between Southend United and Northampton Town at Roots Hall on April 12, 2008 in Southend, England. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)
Pete Norton/Getty Images

Former Celtic youth left-back Charlie Mulgrew is set to re-join the Hoops after his contract has expired with Aberdeen. 

Mulgrew will be Neil Lennon's first arrival since being named permanent manager earlier this month.  The ambitious former Celtic captain will attempt to bolster the club's chances of winning the SPL title by trying secure a number of potential targets.

Oft-injured Premier League midfielder Jimmy Bullard is set to begin talks with Celtic and secure a season-long loan deal with the Scottish giants.  Vastly experienced defender Sol Campbell may also be making the move north from the Premier League as his contract has expired with Arsenal.  Another free agent is former Cardiff winger Joe Ledley, but the 23-year-old is set reject the Hoops and join Stoke City.

Going in the opposite direction could be winger Liam Lawrence.  The Republic of Ireland international has pushed for a move to Parkhead begging Stoke City to allow him to join Celtic.  Fellow Irish international winger Aiden McGeady, on the other hand, has been linked with moves to Premier League sides Aston Villa and Birmingham City.

McGeady isn't the only one likely to be leaving Parkhead.  German right-back Andreas Hinkel has been tracked by various Bundesliga and Premier League clubs.  Greek forward Georgios Samaras may be rejoining former manager Gordon Strachan at Middlesbrough.  Polish international Artur Boruc is wanted by Italian clubs Juventus and Fiorentina as the sensational keeper is sure to attract interest from many interested European clubs.

South Korean right-back Cha Doo-Ri is set to replace Hinkel after impressing Lennon during the World Cup.  He is known to have tremendous stamina and lightning-quick pace.  Versatile Nottingham Forrest defender Kelvin Wilson could also be on his way to Celtic.

Lennon will be looking to raise enough money to make one premiere signing.  Irish captain Robbie Keane had a wonderfully successful time at Celtic scoring 16 goals in 19 appearances.  He also struck up a great rapport with Lennon and commented upon the end of his loan spell that Lennon was his pick to be Celtic boss. 

Aston Villa, Birmingham City, and other Premier League clubs will be looking to land the Irishman, who is set to leave Spurs.

If Keane prefers to stay within the Premier League or Celtic cannot meet Tottenham's asking price, former Celtic forward Craig Bellamy will be Lennon's second choice.  The Wales captain has been given assurances by Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini but might be wary of his place in City's pecking order.

Bellamy is also wanted by Spurs, Wolfsburg, and Cardiff City but the possibility of Carlos Tevez joining Real Madrid may keep him at Eastlands.  Both the transfer fee and wages could also be a stumbling block in the Hoops acquiring Bellamy.

Lennon clearly needs to make a marquee signing to raise club morale ahead of his first season permanently in charge at Parkhead.  A big-name acquisition is also needed to fill Celtic Park as the club saw dwindling attendance figures last season. 

There looks to be plenty of change for the Bhoys this summer, but will Celtic be able to sign the sort of talent that will inspire their supporters and possibly take the SPL title back from Rangers?  This should be a very meaningful transfer window and will show if the club's money men are willing to invest enough for Celtic to genuinely challenge their arch-rivals.