GLASGOW, United Kingdom (AFP) – Celtic manager Neil Lennon admits star striker Gary Hooper could have played his last game for the Scottish champions.
Hooper has attracted recent bids from Premier League sides Norwich and Hull and has made it clear to Lennon that he is keen to return to England.
The 25-year-old, who has been struggling with a groin strain during pre-season, is out of contract at the end of the forthcoming campaign, making it likely Celtic will cash in now if they are convinced he won't sign a new deal.
Hooper did not feature in Celtic's 3-0 defeat against Union Berlin on Friday - their fourth friendly loss in Germany ahead of Wednesday's Champions League qualifier against Cliftonville.
And Lennon told several national newspapers: "It will be difficult to convince Gary to stay. He has not featured much in pre-season and the games start in earnest for us on Wednesday night.
"So he'd have a bit of catching up to do and I don't know where his mind is at the minute.
"Has he played his last game for Celtic? Never say never but it's looking more and more that way."
Lennon has already seen Kenya midfielder Victor Wanyama leave for Southampton in midweek and believes he needs further reinforcements after only bringing in Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk and Portuguese striker Amido Balde during the close-season.
"I haven't spoken to (Celtic chief executive) Peter Lawwell yet about bringing someone in but we need two or three players if we're going to get back into the Champions League," Lennon added.