Celtic winger Jota is already winning over the hearts of the Hoops support, but it wasn’t that long ago that he could’ve been starring for Real Madrid.

The Bhoys surprised many this summer when they managed to nab Jota on a loan deal from Benfica. Celtic also have an option-to-buy clause in the deal, reported to be just over £6m [Sky Sports].

However, Jota was a highly thought of commodity only two years ago. Fresh off of finishing joint top scorer at the 2018 Under-19 Euros, his stock was high.

Real Betis Celtic
Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

So much so that Real Madrid reportedly viewed him back in 2019 as a potential replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo. Reliable Spanish outlet AS said at the time that Madrid had put an offer in of around €18m [£15.4m]. At that time, the player had a €30m release clause in his contract. Benfica, knowing the talent and potential the winger had, rejected the move.

As part of his current contract, Benfica have slapped an €88m [£75.5m] release clause into his deal [Record]. Celtic, therefore, could be able to purchase the Portuguese talent for just under £70m less.

Celtic fans have been impressed with the early signs from Jota. However, whether a move will be made in the summer to sign him permanently remains to be seen.

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Jota beginning to burst into life at Celtic

Speaking on the Celtic Exchange Podcast last month, Sky reporter Anthony Joseph claimed that the Hoops are expecting to make a move to sign him permanently next summer. That was before he made any sort of impression on supporters.

Since then, Jota has managed to break into the side and put in a couple of lively displays. His debut against Ross County was that of a lively winger, before he really shone away to Real Betis last Thursday.

It’s difficult to blame him for the 1-0 defeat to Livingston of course. He wasn’t at his efficient best granted. But truth be told, he still managed to put in some dangerous deliveries into the penalty area that simply weren’t taken.

Celtic Ross County
Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Perhaps the most impressive part of Jota’s game is indeed that crossing ability. He’s shown a wide array of deliveries into the box since he signed for the club.

There’s still some way to go before fans will be convinced that a permanent signing needs to be done. He’s still to bag his first goal for the club or take part in a prolonged run of games.

But the early signs are promising. And given Madrid’s previous interest in the Portuguese talent, it’s clear many saw potential in him early on.

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