Manny Perez’s Celtic stint hasn’t exactly started the way we all would’ve liked.
He’s almost become the right-back we’ve all forgotten about. After signing in January for the club alongside Andrew Gutman, both Perez and his American colleague headed back to the States on loan deals.
Perez played on 11 occasions for North Carolina FC in the USL. But he often played for the American side down the right-wing as opposed to right-back. Perez is primarily a full-back, but his speed and directness had him playing further up during his loan spell.
Celtic will have known all of this whilst it was going on. It’s clear the Hoops weren’t fussed where he played given the fact it never changed throughout his short stint in the USL.
But this summer he returned to Parkhead after returning for the pre-season training camp in Austria and Switzerland. Unfortunately for the Hoops fans, however, we didn’t get a single chance to see him after he seemed to suffer a foot injury, and ultimately didn’t make the camp.
It was North Carolina themselves who confirmed Perez was returning to Parkhead last month. But the status of the defender is now unclear. North Carolina haven’t confirmed whether he’ll return or not.
Will Celtic send him back to the USA to continue playing for the USL side? Does Perez have an immediate future in Glasgow? Where does he rank in our right-back ranks?
Manny Perez robbed of pre-season chance
There have been rumours on social media about the right-back heading back to North Carolina, and that might not be the worst shout. After all, if Celtic are planning to bring in two further right-backs, then where would the opportunities be for Perez?
Gutman remains in Glasgow, as he posted an image of himself and Ralston in training just days ago (Twitter). But there’s been nothing on Perez for some time.
Gutman, of course, impressed in spells during the training camp in Austria and Switzerland. Perez, however, was simply robbed of that chance. Whilst nothing seems to have been reported from either end about Perez’s future, it seems he’s some way off becoming a regular for us as it stands.
It doesn’t seem as though Gutman will be heading back to Charlotte Independence as things stand. Celtic had the option of bringing him back permanently during the summer (Celticfc.net). But Perez’s injury has robbed him of that same opportunity to make an impression, and a continued spell in the USA may not be the worst thing for him to keep his game-time flowing.
It wasn’t made clear by Celtic as to whether we had the same option to recall him too, so he may be contractually obliged to head back to the States.
But at the moment, it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing him in action in the Hoops for a while yet.