Ghana defender Jonathan Mensah’s move to Scottish giants Celtic still alive despite ban

Scottish giants Celtic are still keen on signing Ghana’s Jonathan Mensah despite the global four-month ban slapped on the defender for breach of contract, understands.

Mensah, 24, has been embroiled in a controversial situation for nearly four years, having left Udinese for Evian in 2011, claiming to be a free agent.

However, Udinese have long contested that they still held the rights to Mensah’s contract, making his transfer to French side Evian illegal under FIFA rules.

Now, the situation has finally been clarified as the Court of Arbitration for Sport have banned Mensah from all football for four months, meaning he will miss the start of next season as well as a vital Africa Cup of Nations qualifier for Ghana.

The ruling was expected to have a negative effect on Mensah’s proposed transfer to Celtic but insiders close the deal have told Ghana’s leading football news outfit that the Scottish giants are still in the hunt for their target.

“Celtic are still interested in Jonathan despite this ban by CAS. They want to have him so this ruling is just a temporary setback. We will continue with the talks,” an agent close to the deal told on condition of anonymity.

Celtic identified Ghanaian World Cup star Jonathan Mensah as a potential replacement for Jason Denayer.

The Belgian stopper heads back to Manchester City in the summer and has admitted that he does not know where his future lies.

And the Hoops – who could also lose Virgil van Dijk in the close season – are believed to be weighing up a move for the Evian Thonon Gaillard defender to bolster their defence.

Mensah, who has played 27 games for Ghana including three in last year’s World Cup, started his career with homeland side Ashanti Gold, before moving to South African outfit Free State Stars in 2008.

Mensah’s performances for the ABSA Premiership side won him a move to Serie A giants Udinese, but he was farmed out on loan to Spanish side Granada.

Mensah eventually moved to Evian in 2011, signing a four-year deal.

As an Under-20 player, he won the 2009 African Youth Championship and the FIFA U-20 World Cup the same year, while he helped the Black Stars to African Cup of Nations glory earlier this year.

With Evian, he was part of the squad that narrowly missed out on the Coupe de France in the 2012/13 season but they were relegated to the French second tier over the weekend.

Their relegation will further boost Mensah’sa resolve to leave the French side for Celtic.

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