Exclusive - New Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has asked the Glasgow club to prioritise the summer signing of Aaron Mooy, who has previously played in the English Premier League for Huddersfield and Brighton.
Mooy is already well known to the Australian coach, having established himself as a regular for the national team during Postecoglou’s time in charge between 2013 and 2017.
90min understands that Greek-born Postecoglou, who himself played a handful of games for Australia in the 1980s after growing up in Melbourne, has identified Mooy as a top transfer target to boost Celtic’s midfield ahead of the upcoming 2021/22 season.
The club will be expected to challenge Rangers for the Scottish Premiership title after finishing 25 adrift of their fierce Old Firm rivals last season and bringing in new players like Mooy with proven quality and experience is a way that Postecoglou will hope to do it.
Celtic officials had previously identified former Wigan and Everton midfielder James McCarthy as a potential signing but wanted to hold off any approach until a new permanent manager was hired.
Sources have told 90min that while the club hierarchy is still keen on McCarthy, they are eager to back a specific recommendation from their new coach, with Mooy the player he wants.
Mooy is currently playing in China with Shanghai Port, formerly known as Shanghai SIPG, but is understood to be keen on the chance to return to British football. It would likely take an offer close to the £4m Shanghai paid Brighton for him in 2020 to prompt a sale.
The 30-year-old has a long association with the UK. He first moved to England as a 16-year-old to join Bolton’s youth ranks, while it was Scottish side St Mirren that handed him a professional debut during two seasons spent at the Paisley club, before heading back to Australia.
After impressing with Melbourne City in the A-League, Mooy was bought by Manchester City in 2016 and immediately joined Huddersfield on loan. That deal was made permanent a year later after he helped the Terriers earn promotion to the Premier League, while he joined Brighton in 2019.