Exclusive: Celtic send scout to Bristol City with the Glasgow club joining list of Antoine Semenyo suitors
Scottish giants Celtic sent one of their senior scouts to watch the Bristol City forward in the week as the Robins try to ward off interested parties.
Bristol City’s Antoine Semenyo joined Nahki Wells and Aden Flint in being named as those Robins to have won the EFL Championship player of the month award on Friday -although the Bermuda international’s prize was technically for his work in January 2020 at QPR.
Semenyo is blossoming as the 2021/22 season plays out, and he gets more games in the centre-forward position that the 22-year-old is now thriving in after previously playing from wide.
Three goals and three assists in the first month of this year saw the Sky Bet monthly accolade heading to the South West.
The former SGS College sharp-shooter gains admirers by the week, and BristolWorld understands that Scottish giants Celtic are the latest to check on the powerful striker.
According to sources north of the border, senior scout Craig Strachan was watching Wednesday night’s game against Reading.
Craig is the son of former Celtic manager Gordan Strachan and he covers England and European games for the Bhoys.
And Strachan junior will not have been disappointed with what he saw in the 2-1 win over the Royals, as Semenyo tapped in from a few yards out after good work by Andi Weimann and Cameron Pring had led to the chance for City to open the scoring.
Semenyo went on to volley against the post in the later stages of the game, and only John Swift and Alex Scott completed more successful dribbles on the night than Semenyo, who put in another fine all-round display as he continues to impress onlookers.
The problem for the Glasgow side, should they follow up on the player in the summer, is that even if they can offer Champions League football, can they afford the going rate for the player?
Bristol City rejected more than one bid for Semenyo on transfer deadline day last month, with Nottingham Forest one of the sides who saw an offer rebuffed.
The Robins are keen to keep hold of their talented player and talks have been conducted over a new contract. But although those discussions have been described as “positive”, Bristol World understands that an agreement is not close.
Manager Nigel Pearson was asked about the subject in the pre-Swansea City press conference held yesterday.
“It [the contract] never just looks after itself. Of course, we want to retain his services for as long as we can,” he explained.
“He’s currently got a year-and-a-half left with a year’s option in our favour so we’ve got him for two-and-a-half years to at least persuade him to stay, whether that materialises or not I can’t give you a definitive answer.
“But we have time to work on those possibilities but I can’t speak for other people’s intentions and it will take a lot of money to get him out of the building,” added Pearson.
Bristol City are believed to have wanted an offer of £15m to trigger serious transfer talks last month for the Championship hitman who has five goals and six assists from 11 starts in the league so far this season, after knee surgery last summer delayed the start to his campaign.
The Robins are looking for a fee of around £20m in total, including clauses and add-ons. And that sort of price may only be affordable by a Premier League side or one with parachute payments, with plenty of top teams looking at Semenyo currently.
City have also been in contract talks with Han-Noah Massengo though no resolution appears imminent.