Gannon offers youngsters deals

Well boss keen to retain Slane and Saunders

Gannon: Keen to retain youngsters

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Jim Gannon has confirmed Motherwell have offered talented youngsters Paul Slane and Steve Saunders new deals.

"There has been interest from Celtic over Paul but contract talks have not been at the forefront of his mind because he has been injured for the last few weeks."

Gannon on Slane

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The Well boss has turned his attention on the pair after the Fir Park outfit secured the futures of Ross Forbes and Shaun Hutchison on extended contracts.

Gannon has confirmed Celtic are interested in acquiring Slane, however, he remains hopeful the 17-year-old midfielder will resist the lure to move to Parkhead.

Although the former Stockport boss has seen plenty of youngsters given a chance to succeed at Celtic, he believes Slane's best option would be to continue his footballing education at Fir Park.

Looking forward

"Obviously I can't do all the deals at the same time so now Ross and Shaun are sorted I have made offers to Paul and Steve and looking forward to concluding them," explained Gannon.

"Once the younger players are settled and sorted about their futures at the club we will move on to the senior players.

"There has been interest from Celtic over Paul but contract talks have not been at the forefront of his mind because he has been injured for the last few weeks.

"I spoke to him a while back and there is an offer on the table. But like any young player he wants to be reassured of his position at the club.

"We see Paul and Steve as players with a bright future here and they will play and train regularly with the first team.

"There is no better place for a player to be than in a team that's playing good football and at the right end of the table. I think it would be in Paul's best interest to stay and play here for the foreseeable future.

Progress

"I know Tony Mowbray and if Paul was to join Celtic then it would all be down to the progress he made at a club like this. It is not for me to say if Paul would or would not get a game there.

"I know they have a lot of wide attackers like Aiden McGeady, Shaun Maloney, Paddy McCourt and Niall McGinn so young players do get a chance but I can't say what would happen.

"Paul would obviously see Celtic as a good opportunity but he is still a young man. He is happy enough here and with the offer so he just needs to make sure he is making the right decision.

"He knows how much we like him and value him as a player and the chance we gave him. He has had a real taste of things with European football and wants more.

"In his formative years he needs to be in an environment where he is looked after, well supported and well educated and gets the opportunity to play regularly."