EDDIE Howe is not close to agreeing a deal to become Celtic's new boss, according to his representative.

The former legendary Cherries manager left Vitality Stadium last summer, following the club's relegation from the Premier League.

Across two spells, Howe managed more than 450 matches for Cherries, clinching three promotions along the way.

The 43-year-old is the strong favourite with the bookmakers to take the vacant position at Celtic, which is currently being held by interim boss John Kennedy.

Some reports suggested Howe could be confirmed as manager of the Glasgow giants as early as this week, but Howe's representative has quashed that talk.

Speaking to Sky Sports News about links with Celtic, Howe's representative said: "Talks of any deal being close are extremely premature.

"His plan remains to not return to management until the summer at the earliest."

The Daily Record in Scotland claim a potential deal has hit "several stumbling blocks" including Howe's hopes to bring his own backroom team to work alongside him, as well as Cherries' technical director Richard Hughes.

The Daily Echo understands Celtic have made no official approach for Hughes, who was present at Vitality Stadium to watch Friday's 3-1 win over Middlesbrough.