Celtic sign 18-year-old Irish defender Luca Connell on a four year deal

Celtic have announced the signing of Republic of Ireland defender Luca Connell from Bolton Wanderers on a four year deal.

Connell, who can also play in midfield, becomes Neil Lennon’s second signing of the summer transfer window after the £7 million capture of French defender Christopher Jullien from Toulouse yesterday.

Coming through the youth ranks at Bolton, he broke into the first team during the second half of last season making nine starts out of 12 appearances for the financially stricken English side.

Celtic were reportedly set to only pay £250,000 for the youngster, but Bolton’s administrators issued a statement via the club website, claiming that the Scottish champions paid ‘substantially more than the financial obligations’.

The statement read: "We took legal advice once Luca submitted his notice of termination.

"However, the discrepancy in the regulations between England and Scotland meant we had no option but to accept the situation.

"To their credit, Celtic recognised that and have agreed to pay substantially more than the financial obligations in Luca's contract."

Celtic beat a clutch of clubs to Connell’s signature including Tottenham Hotspur, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Southampton and Rangers.

On his move, Connell said: "It's unbelievable to sign for such a massive club. I'm more than ready for the pressure and expectation and I'm really looking forward to it."

Connell received a his first Republic of Ireland call-up last month, but injury cut short his time with the Irish first team.

The Irish youth international will now fly out to meet up with his new teammates at their pre-season training camp in Austria.