Winger Jonny Hayes Is The Man For Cardiff City

Brendan Rodgers talked Jonny Hayes out of signing for Celtic more than a decade ago – and now he’s trying to stop the winger joining Cardiff City.

Celtic manager Rodgers has offered a £1.2m transfer fee for Hayes, a figure matched by Bluebirds’ boss Neil Warnock.

Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City are also keen, but Rodgers and Warnock are leading the chase.

Republic of Ireland international Hayes, currently with Scottish Premier League Aberdeen, could well opt for Celtic, a club he almost signed for at the age of 16.

This was in 2004 when Rodgers was head of Reading’s academy and persuaded Hayes to join the Berkshire club rather than sign for Celtic.

“Jonny was ready to join Celtic at 16 and I talked him out of it,” said Rodgers. “He was a very clever boy and was travelling over to Celtic with another young boy playing for the Republic of Ireland.

“Martin O’Neill was Celtic manager so you imagine the job I had then convincing him not to go to Celtic. With players you have to hook them emotionally and that was important because I was trying to bring the best young talent to Reading.

“Jonny was a breath of fresh air. He had a great talent, was really natural. He had great speed, strength and pace and was a courageous little bugger as well.”

A key factor for Warnock is that Hayes would be a squad player at the Scottish club, while he would play a major role for Cardiff City.

Hayes would certainly add pace and direct running for Cardiff. He loves running at full-backs, can go inside or out to beat his man and whip in crosses.

He worked with former Newport County manager Terry Butch at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, while he has stepped up his game dramatically playing under Derek McInnes at Aberdeen.

Hayes is a winger who thrives on the left and can also operate in full-back or wing-back roles. Celtic have good cover in those positions and the Irishman would surely have to be patient.

The Bluebirds have also been linked with moves for Cardiff-born Joe Ledley, who is out of contract at Crystal Palace, plus striker Danny Ward, who played under Warnock at Rotherham.

Adam le Fondre, meanwhile, has left Cardiff City after agreeing a permanent deal with the newly-promoted Championship club.

The 30-year-old striker, who has spent two loan spells with the Trotters, made only 25 appearances for the Bluebirds in three years.

“It’s not going to be a shock that I’ve signed and it’s been a long time coming,” he told Bolton’s official website.

“Bolton Wanderers is my spiritual home at the moment and I’m really looking forward to putting in a lot of hard work and get going.”

Le Fondre scored eight goals in 17 matches for Wanderers during his most recent six-month loan deal.

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