Celtic Set Their Sights On This Portuguese Fullback: Another Smart Option For The Bhoys?

Everton are in advanced talks to land Aurelio Buta who is seen in the photo
ANTWERPEN, BELGIUM - MAY 13: Aurelio Buta of Antwerp battles for the ball with Noa Lang of Club Brugge during the Jupiler Pro League Champions play-offs match day 3 between Royal Antwerp FC and Club Brugge on May 13, 2021 in Antwerpen, Belgium. Photo by Vincent Van Doornick/Isosport PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxNED x11781754x Copyright:

Amid reports of an array of key summer exits, the transition has begun at Parkhead under Ange Postecoglou who is keen on a new right fullback. A lot of names have surfaced over a potential summer move and according to Fabrizio Romano, Celtic have identified Aurélio Buta as one of their transfer targets alongside Nathan Byrne, Sacha Boey and Brandon Soppy.

The 24-year-old Royal Antwerp right-back spent his teenage days with Benfica. He had a stint with the reserves but could not make it to their senior side before being loaned out to Belgium. Antwerp roped him on permanent terms back in 2018 and the young Portuguese eventually claimed a regular status with 34 appearances last season across competitions.

The Hoops decided not to offer Jonjoe Kenny an extension following his underwhelming loan stint from Everton. The 24-year-old was tied down as Jeremie Frimpong’s successor soon after the latter left for Bayer Leverkusen in a mega-money transfer. Hatem Abd Elhamed could not settle in either despite a blistering start and the Bhoys are now exploring the market extensively to restore balance in the defensive third.

Celtic target Buta in action for Royal Antwerp
Antwerp s Aurelio Buta and Club s Noa Lang fight for the ball during a soccer match between Royal Antwerp FC and Club Brugge, Thursday 13 May 2021 in Antwerp, on the third day out of six of the Champions play-offs of the Jupiler Pro League first division of the Belgian championship. DAVIDxPINTENS PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY x2715837x

Why Celtic Should Step Up The Chase For Buta

Ralston, meanwhile, has impressed so far in the friendly outings but should keep up the good work to stake a claim in Postecoglou’s plan for the upcoming season. The Scotsman featured only once during the previous term in a stalemate against Livingston, and therefore, would not be able to handle the pressure all alone week in week out. Someone with more experience must be a priority for the right-back spot and Buta, despite being a little-known name in the European circuit, ticks many boxes to fit in the system.

The former Portugal youth international was involved in Antwerp’s thrilling 1-0 Europa League victory against Tottenham Hotspur. He played full 90 minutes (both home and away) versus Rangers in the knockout defeat and a switch to Parkhead would hand him the opportunity of seeking revenge on the Glasgow rivals.

Buta needs to work on his defensive duties but, at the same time, offers a constant threat from the right-hand flank with marauding runs, crosses and cut insides. He has also exhibited his expertise as a wingback and the attacking brand of Postecoglou would suit him more than the traditional fullback role.

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