Celtic have made a late move to hijack Rangers’ bid to sign midfielder Joe Aribo, ESPN understands.
The Scottish treble winners have contacted the representatives of the 22-year-old in the last 48 hours as they look to beat their bitter rivals to his signature.
Ibrox sources have told ESPN that Rangers are, nevertheless, confident of fending off the cross-Glasgow ambush and winning the race for Aribo.
This comes after Sky Sports revealed last week that the Light Blues have submitted a bumper offer to Aribo as they look to take advantage of cross-border rules to snap him up on a cut-price compensation deal this summer.
Aribo is out of contract at Charlton Athletic at the end of the month and, as Sky revealed, he has snubbed an extension amid widespread interest from Premier League, Bundesliga and English Championship clubs.
Rangers and Celtic have a major advantage in that they do not need to pay a significant fee for training costs to Charlton, unlike clubs south of the border.
It means they can snap up the product of the Addicks academy for around £250,000, a bargain price compared to what English teams would have to pay.
Aribo played a key role in Charlton’s promotion from League One, secured through a Wembley play-off win last month.
The midfielder was productive in creating and scoring goals, striking 10 times from midfield as well as supplying five further assists.