Scottish champions Celtic are set to scrap their chase for Ghana World Cup star Jonathan Mensah after he was hit by a four-month FIFA ban, a newspaper in the European country has reported.
The report by the Daily Record claims Celtic won’t pursue the Ghanaian any further even though insiders close to the deal have told GHANAsoccernet.com the club are still interested in the defender.
Manager Ronny Deila has been assessing a move for the centre-back, left, with his scouting network alert to his availability on a free transfer.
Mensah’s contract with French outfit Evian expires in the summer and Celtic were among the clubs keen on signing the 24-year-old.
However, the chances of a move have been thrown into jeopardy by the FIFA ban which has been imposed in a breach-of-contract case. The Court of Arbitration for Sport said its appeal panel upheld Mensah’s ban, imposed by FIFA last July in a case dating to 2011.
FIFA judged Mensah,?who has 27 caps for Ghana,?was still under contract to Udinese when he joined the French club four years ago, claiming to be a free agent.
Under FIFA rules he will serve one month of the suspension until the French season ends but the sanction is not spent during the close season.
He will therefore serve the final three months of the ban from the start of his next club’s new season, the Daily Record reports.
A source close to Mensah told GHANAsoccernet.com: “Celtic are still interested in Jonathan despite this ban by the CAS.
“They want to have him, so this ruling is just a temporary setback.”
However, Record Sport understands the ban, which means Mensah would not be available for the Champions League qualifiers and some of the group stage should they progress, has made Celtic re-evaluate their position.
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