Report: Celtic to rival Manchester City for Jose Cifuentes

By David Walton

June 23, 2019

Celtic are reportedly hoping to beat Manchester City to the signing of £2.5million-rated Jose Cifuentes.

The Scottish Sun believe that the Hoops feel they have the advantage. Should they sign the Ecuadorian under-20 star, they should be able to register him as a Celtic player immediately.

That’s due to the fact that registration rules for work permits are different in England and Scotland. If Cifuentes was to move to Manchester, he may not be able to get a work permit for a full year.

Jose Cifuentes would be yet another midfielder in the Celtic ranks (PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images)

The Sun also believes that City have a plan for Cifuentes if they sign them. Instead of bringing him into their squad, they would apparently look to loan him out to Girona in Spain. If he was to sign up at Parkhead, however, he would have a chance at Champions League football and an opportunity to win trophies immediately.

Cifuentes is naturally a defensive-midfielder. Neil Lennon may have seen him with Ecuador under-20s in the recent World Cup in Poland. Cifuentes managed to play almost every minute for Ecuador in their run to the semi-finals in Poland. They would eventually be knocked out by South Korea, but ended the tournament in third-place after beating Italy in the playoffs.

Would Cifuentes be one midfielder too many?

This potential deal would open up a whole host of questions. First off, where would he fit in? Celtic look like announcing a deal for David Turnbull on Monday (Daily Record). We’re fed up of listing out the full list of midfielders we currently have. The list is substantial.

There’s also been nothing further on Olivier Ntcham. Only his departure would perhaps free up a space for Cifuentes. Celtic, you have to imagine, would be primarily focused on sorting out the wage bill first and foremost.

Olivier Ntcham is still being linked with a move away (Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images)

We have the likes of Nir Bitton and Youssouf Mulumbu not doing anything much. Then there is Eboue Kouassi, who is pretty much desperately needing some game-time elsewhere to try and kick-start his time in Scotland.

Cifuentes sounds like a flashy signing if Celtic could lure him from Ecuadorian side America de Quito. But at £2.5million, do we really need another defensive midfielder?

Cifuentes isn’t a player we desperately need (Claudio Reyes/AFP/Getty Images)

Scott Brown and Callum McGregor won’t be replaced. Their alternatives are also strong with the imminent arrival of Turnbull too.

At this point, we can’t say that Celtic aren’t looking at defensive targets of course. Even if Scott McKenna isn’t what many would want, the club are clearly actively looking to strengthen in that area (Scottish Sun).

But a deal for Cifuentes is certainly left-field, to say the least.