US Under-20 international full back Manny Perez to sign for Celtic

Celtic are to confirm the signing of US Under-20 International Manny Perez when the January transfer window opens after impressing on trial.

The 19-year-old full-back, who currently plays for North Carolina State University, has spent the past few weeks at Lennoxtown looking to secure a move to the Scottish champions and it seems he has done enough to warrant a deal – pending a work permit.

North Carolina State University head coach George Kiefer said: “Manny is a terrific kid and has all the attributes required to have a big career in the game. He deserved his call-up to the US Under 20s side and I believe he impressed there too.”

With Mikael Lustig’s current deal ending this summer and the Swedes performances less than impressive of late, Perez could be parachuted into the first team to challenge for the right back spot with Anthony Ralston and Christian Gamboa.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – NOVEMBER 20: Johnny Russell of Scotland reacts when inspecting the pitch prior to the UEFA Nations League C group one match between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park on November 20, 2018 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Russell to Celtic?

Meanwhile, with Celtic interested in signing two new strikers in the January transfer window, Swansea City striker Wilfrid Bony and Real Kansas City Johnny Russell have both been linked with a move to the Scottish champions.

Russell has admitted to Derby County’s RamsTV that he is regularly homesick following his transfer from Derby County to the MLS side in January

The former Dundee United striker spent four-and-a-half year spell with the English side scoring 34 goals in 203 appearances. He has made 38 appearances for Kansas City scoring ten times and has returned to the Scotland national squad setup.

“I’m enjoying it, it’s been good for me. I do miss it here, but it’s a decision that I felt that had to make at the time. It’s worked out for me, but I do miss it here and I miss the boys here as well.

“The distance that you travel, although we were away from home here, it’s not far for the family to come down. Not having family over as frequent as normal, especially having a little girl as well, so it’s been tough.

“I’m a bit homesick at times, but it’s been a great experience, something I’ve had to adapt to and I feel I’ve done that well.”

So could Celtic tempt Russell with a return to the UK? With the MLS season set to kick off in March 2019, it is highly unlikely that Real Kansas City will allow the striker to go to Celtic on loan and any move would have to be a permanent deal.