According to the Daily Mail and other news media Monday, Swansea City has placed a 5 million pound ($7.84 million) offer with the Scottish champion for their midfielder.
However, Celtic sources say further offers for Ki are expected this week and have placed the offer from the Welsh club on ice in anticipation of a transfer bidding war.
A number of Premier League clubs are said to be interested in the 23-year-old. They include Queens Park Rangers, Arsenal, Fulham and Liverpool. Spanish side Atletico Madrid is reportedly also interested.
Sky Sports News reported that Swansea is currently leading the chase as its manager Michael Laudrup has identified Ki as a replacement for Joe Allen, who transferred to Liverpool.
Celtic are unlikely to accept less than 8 million pounds for Ki, a player with 15 months remaining on his current contract, reports say.
|Ki Sung-yueng in action during the London Olympics. (Yonhap News)|
Ki is set to return from Olympic duty ahead of his club’s Champions League playoff with Helsingborgs on Tuesday. When he comes back, manager Neil Lennon will ask Ki if he still wants to be at Celtic, according to the National, an English-language publication by Abu Dhabi Media.
“I’ve not seen him in a month so I don’t know what he’s thinking at the minute,” Lennon said last week. “When I see him eventually, which hopefully will be Sunday, he can let me know what he’s thinking.”
Ki is entering his fourth season in Scottish football. Originally signed for 2.1 million pounds from FC Seoul in December 2009, he is among a group of central midfielders that Celtic would be prepared to sell, should the right offer come.
Over the course of the 2011-2012 campaign, he scored seven goals and had six assists, playing a key role in helping Celtic win the Scottish title.
In the London 2012 Olympics, he scored the winning penalty for South Korea in its quarterfinal match against Great Britain, allowing his country to advance to the semifinals. South Korea won the bronze, its first ever Olympic medal in football. The Olympic medal has granted Ki and other players exemption from military service.
Swansea got its Premier League campaign off to a flying start as it routed QPR 5-0 away from home Saturday.
By Chun Sung-woo (firstname.lastname@example.org)