The Imps have been linked with a move for Celtic target Trai Hume, according to Belfast Telegraph.
The 19-yar-old is considered to be one of the brightest prospects in Irish football, and he’s previously been linked with moves to Celtic, Hearts and Premier League side Burnley. However, reports are emerging that suggest we have got ahead of the queue with a bid. The figure is not revealed, but according to some reports, figures in excess of £100,000 were touted in the summer.
Hume is contracted to his current club, Linfield, until 2023, and he’s a key part of former Imp John Schofield’s Northern Ireland Under 21 side; he’s made fine appearances for his country at that level this season. As well as being a regular in the league for Linfield, who are second in the NIFL Premiership, he’s also featured in the Europa Conference League against Žalgiris, Borac Banja Luka and Fola Esch.
The talented teen is a right-back by trade, but he can also operate at centre back, and his stock is certainly high. Manager David Healy said of his young talent in July: “Trai will get more games in the Irish League this year and he’s only going to be better for it.” Healy should know, he has a host of former players in the English leagues. “Shayne Lavery played 70 or 80 games for Linfield and Gavin Whyte and Mark Sykes also played a lot of Irish League games before they joined English clubs. Joel Cooper is also over there now, so others have proven if you play at this level you’ll be better prepared physically and mentally to go on and play at a higher level.”
Hume had played four times in two seasons before a loan move to Ballymena United in 2020/21, and he excelled whilst with the Sky Blues. He played 37 times, chipping in with six goals and four assists. That prompted Healy to put his faith in the younger at Linfield, where he’s made 17 senior appearances this season, 21 in total.
It seems that he’s now set for England, but is news of our interest solid? Or is this another story that’s not got legs, like so many before?
My gut feeling is that we are in for Hume. The source is reputable, a proper paper, and one of the last proper paper reports linking us with a player was Jamie Robson. That turned out to be a good report and I think this one is too. My fear is that at this late stage, an agent or someone looking to inflate a price has now moved to alert the press. After all, if we have agreed on a deal, and it’s been kept on the quiet, someone may feel there’s scope for nudging that price higher, especially with the likes of Celtic having been interested last time.
On paper, Hume looks a proper prospect, and I think there’s validity to the reports, it just depends on whether or not we can keep the deal exclusive and protected until January.