Celtic seems to have learned from the mistakes made in the summer transfer window and are aggressively pursuing new deals to add strength to their squad. Brendan Rodgers, the Parkhead chief has already roped in Vakoun Issouf Bayo, Oliver Burke and Timothy Weah within the first couple of weeks of January and is now closing in on American right-back Manny Perez, according to the Daily Record.
The 19-year-old trialist seems to have impressed the gaffer in the training ground and is expected to earn a contract similar to his fellow compatriot Andrew Gutman, currently waiting for a work permit. Although Perez is quite unlikely to find a place straightaway in their senior side, the possible egress of Mikael Lustig and his deputy Cristian Gamboa will leave a massive void down the right-hand side of Celtic’s defensive line.
The duo, however, is set to depart at the end of the ongoing campaign and the teenager, therefore, would have a few months to settle down in the new surroundings. Perez, who plays for North Carolina University, has also represented his nation at the U20s and is regarded as one of the brightest prospects of US soccer.
He is strong physically, holds great shooting techniques and is lauded for his game reading and a balanced attacking as well as defensive attributes. Even though the youngster is yet to prove his worth at the senior level, the sincere guidance of Rodgers would gradually help him flourish at a team of Celtic’s calibre.
The Hoops need to reconstruct the backline by the summer, but the manager has set his sights on developing the youth as told in a recent interview (via The Daily Record).
“The young players that have come in fit that model. My job was to develop that, increase that talent within and, hopefully, they can come in and do a great job for Celtic, whether they are loan signings or a permanent signing.”
This must be a massive boost for the rookie right fullback who would be handed opportunities to shine if he keeps his head down, works hard and makes an impression while taking part in the gruelling training sessions.
It is still unclear if the boss would cash in on a senior resource to replace the once-reliant Lustig whose performance has taken a significant dip over the past few months. Perez, however, must not get into that and should entirely focus on his progress to make sure he remains in the manager’s good books for years to come.