Report: Celtic make contact about signing Atletico talent Rodrigo Riquelme

By John McGinley

July 29, 2020

Celtic have made enquiries about signing Atletico Madrid attacking talent Rodrigo Riquelme, Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo reports this week.

They say that the Hoops have ‘knocked on the door’ with regards to the 20-year-old, who has just a year left on his contract at the La Liga side.

Atletico are said to rate him highly and want to extend that deal but Riquelme is looking for first-team football elsewhere at a critical stage of his development.

Even if he signs a contract extension, he is seeking a loan move.

Real Betis are another team keen on signing him, the report states.

The Spanish side have tried to protect against the winger leaving, with Marca reporting back in March that he has a massive €30m (£27.2m) release clause in his current deal.

However, he’s managed to make just two senior appearances for the club, both of which have come from the bench.

At youth and reserve level, he’s impressed, netting eight goals and assisting seven more in 38 competitive appearances for Atletico’s B and U19 sides over the last two seasons (Transfermarkt).

It would make sense that Celtic would be on the hunt for a winger, though there may be fan expectation of signing a talent with a bit more first-team experience.

Mohamed Elyounoussi and James Forrest will be installed as first-choice picks on each flank this coming season but depth beyond those two isn’t great with Mikey Johnston injured and Karamoko Dembele untested.

Reported Celtic target Rodrigo Riquelme / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Riquelme appears to be quite the talent if Atletico’s estimation is anything to go by.

Former Atletico academy director Miguel Angel Ruiz told Goal in September 2019: “In my view, he is a ‘trequartista’, either on the right, left or in the centre, but always behind the strikers.

“I have had conversations with national selectors and I told them that what I think is best is that he plays from the wing. In this way, his diagonal runs, preferably from the left, end in him shooting or passing to a team-mate.

“His change of pace is brutal and is something that could differentiate him with others in his age group. He has speed, change of pace and ability to overpower an opponent in one-on-one situations. On the right wing, he can do it but he will lose a little. The left is his best position.”

That kind of attacking flair and explosive power would no doubt be popular with fans.

It’ll be very interesting to see how his situation at Atletico now develops with Celtic in the mix.

In other news, Ivan Toney is said to prefer a move to Celtic over Brentford, who have tabled a £6m offer for the striker.