Transfer

Celtic in pole position as “tenacious” £6m loanee wants permanent transfer

Brendan Rodgers and Celtic have made three loan signings this season, most recently recruiting Adam Idah from Norwich City on the final day of the January transfer window. The Hoops fended off competition from clubs in Serie A and the English Championship to land the Irishman until the end of the campaign, but the agreement doesn’t include an option to buy.

Last summer, Rodgers made two temporary additions, one of which saw defender Nat Phillips join from his former club Liverpool. Phillips, however would only play eight games in the first half of the season before being recalled to Anfield and sent to Cardiff instead.



Then there’s Paulo Bernardo, who arrived on deadline day in September on a season-long loan from Benfica that did include the option to buy. Now, some key details around that detail and the player’s future in general have emerged.

Celtic given Bernardo opportunity

According to The Daily Record, via Sports View, Celtic have been told by Benfica that they can sign Bernardo for a fee of £6m come the end of the season, putting them in pole position to be his next club.

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Bernardo is happy at the club and will seek a permanent transfer, but it remains to be seen whether Celtic are willing to fork out the 10th-biggest transfer fee in their history to get the move done.

“Tenacious” Bernardo winning Rodgers over

Having only started two of the first 13 Scottish Premiership games for which he was available, Bernardo has now been in the line-up for the last six in succession. The absence of Reo Hatate has played a big part, with the midfielder only able to play one game since October as a result of injury and his international commitments at the Asian Cup.

After a fresh setback with Japan, Hatate is now facing a further six weeks out, offering Bernardo the opportunity to make the spot his own. He’s certainly grasped his chance in recent weeks by notching four goal involvements across his six-game run, including a memorable opener in the Old Firm derby against Rangers.

Paulo Bernardo form since Christmas (Premiership)

Game

Goals

Assists

SofaScore rating

Dundee

1

7.8/10

Rangers

1

7.5/10

St Mirren

2

8.5/10

Ross County

6.8/10

Aberdeen

7.2/10

Rodgers has spoken glowingly of the Portuguese as both a footballer and an individual, hailing his maturity and “great attitude at training” as well as his appetite on the field.

“He has come in in these last few games and created goals and scored goals and he has put his foot in too,” he said at the start of last month. “He is tenacious. I’m absolutely delighted for him. It is now about consistency.”

Based on that verdict, Rodgers may push for Celtic to pay up, but Bernardo will have to show that “consistency” for the remainder of the season to earn the faith of the Parkhead hierarchy.

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