Date:Thursday June 1 2006
The news that Celtic striker John Hartson is available for a cut-price £500,000 has alerted Portsmouth and Blackburn Rovers to join the race to sign him.
Albion had originally made an offer for Hartson that Celtic had accepted but reports suggest that Hartson was less than keen moving to the Championship.
When informed of the news Hartson said, 'I'm shocked and disappointed.
'I had no intention or desire to leave the club this summer and I would like the fans to know that.
'I've had things to resolve in my private life but I felt I had sorted everything out.
'I've retired from international football to give me more time to see my kids and I was totally focused on going back to Celtic and trying to help the club reclaim the title and make a real push in the Champions League.'
It is clear that Celtic wish to offload the former international striker. Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp, Hartson's boss at West Ham, and Mark Hughes, Hartson's former international coach, have both declared an interest in the striker.
Hartson would prefer a move to the Premier League and working under one of his former bosses will appeal to the big man if he is to leave Celtic Park.
It looks like another target slipping through the net with Cameron Jerome moving to Blues, Chris Kirkland looks set to join Wigan on loan and now Hartson.
It looks like it is going to be another stressful summer at The Hawthorns with new signings taking time to materialise.
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