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Lennon expects Samaras exit

Celtic boss Neil Lennon expects Georgios Samaras to leave for a top-level European club - and admits he faces a tough task replacing the striker.

The Greek international is a free agent in the summer and looks set to bring his Celtic career, where he moved in 2008, to an end.

Lennon rates the 29-year-old as a 5 million player and believes there will be no shortage of suitors for the signature of the striker.

The Celtic boss told the Daily Record: "Georgios hasn't come out and said this yet but I'd imagine he would be moving on in the summer.

"We only have three or four weeks of the season left and there has been no indication he will stay so I'm assuming he will go.

"He may want a new challenge and something to get his teeth into. He would get a top-level club - top eight in somewhere like Spain, Italy and Germany.

"Georgios has had considerable interest from bigger clubs. I don't know what his target destination is. He has turned down offers from clubs.

"In his own mind he has a set country where he would like to play but I don't know what that is."

Difficult

While the Celtic boss will be looking to replace Samaras - who will play at his second World Cup this summer - he knows it will be a difficult task.

He added: "Can I directly replace him? I'd like to. But big, quick, athletic and technically good players are hard to find.

"Everyone is looking for players like that. He will be an asset wherever he goes. He certainly was for us.

"I don't know if I can directly replace him but I'm going to try anyway.

"He'd be worth in the region of 4m or 5m. Georgios can do it on the big stage and he scored five goals last season in the Champions League.

"He's a regular for Greece and has played at the Euros and the World Cup. He has played consistently well for us and won championships.

"So in today's market you would have to be looking at someone like that. And he's 29 so that's a good age.

"Georgios keeps himself really fit. He's a fantastic professional in that respect and has a good three or four years left in him.

"Sami gets stronger as games go on. He tends to wear opponents down and that's a great asset."