In a recent interview, former Rangers full-back Alan Hutton has praised Celtic for roping in Joao Filipe Jota from Benfica on the transfer deadline day. The exciting Portuguese prospect has been identified as the potential replacement of Ryan Christie who plied his trade at Bournemouth in a £1.5m transfer.
The Hoops, meanwhile, have an option to make the deal permanent for a fee of around £6m, Sky Sports has revealed. The club would monitor his impact throughout the campaign before making the call, however, the ‘research‘ done by Hutton raises the expectations.
“He wants to take people on and make things happen. He’ll be a replacement for Christie, and he seems an exciting, young player with a lot of talent. This is a good move for Celtic because you can have him at the club for a season and get a right good look at him.”
The ex-Scotland international told Football Insider‘s Russell Edge.
The young attacker progressed through the youth ranks of Benfica before being promoted to the senior side back in February 2019. Despite featuring sporadically under Bruno Lage, the return of Jorge Jesus as the new Eagles chief saw him slipping down the pecking order at Estádio da Luz. He spent the 2020-21 campaign out on loan in La Liga with Real Valladolid and netted twice in 18 appearances in all competitions.
How Jota Would Fit In?
While the 22-year-old Portugal youth international is still looking for regular gametime, the exit of Christie and fitness woes of Michael Johnston should see him gaining a more significant status down the left-hand flank. He is productive with both feet, loves to take on the defenders, cuts inside and makes direct runs, also likes to dribble past the opponents using his speed and swift skills from the wide.
Apart from Christie, Ange Postecoglou deployed James Forrest and Kyogo Furuhashi on the left. They fared well as makeshifts but are more effective in their respective roles. Forrest should get rotated with Liel Abada down the right, whereas Furuhashi has exhibited his poaching traits through the middle. Although the Hoops have tied down Giorgos Giakoumakis to succeed Odsonne Edouard, the Japanese ace must retain the ‘number 9’ spot for the time being ahead of the Grece international.
Having said that, the gaffer would keep on tweaking the set-up to get the most out of his attacking options. Jota, therefore, must grab the opportunity and flourish his attributes across the frontline.