Benfica manager offers transfer boost to Celtic

FC Salzburg v SL Benfica: Group D - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
FC Salzburg v SL Benfica: Group D - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Hans Peter Lottermoser/GettyImages

Celtic have done well in recent years when it comes to bringing in players from Benfica on loan. Of course, the deal for Jota turned out to be an absolute masterstroke on the part of the Hoops. After a successful stint, he was signed on a permanent basis from the Portuguese side for a transfer fee believed to be around £6 million.

The following summer, Jota left Celtic for Al-Ittihad in a reported £25 million transfer deal. And in that same window, they signed another player from Benfica on loan.

Paulo Bernardo made a slow start to life at Celtic but has certainly come into his own recently. He is one of the few players to have impressed lately and there have been calls for him to be signed on a permanent basis.

There is believed to be an option to sign permanently included in Bernardo's loan deal. It is unclear what that figure is though, but it is believed to be achievable.

Benfica manager offers transfer boost to Celtic

Amid all this, the Benfica manager appears to have handed a boost to Celtic, if they do indeed want to sign the midfielder at the end of the season. As reported by the Daily Record, he was directly asked about Bernardo's form and whether the Portuguese giants would take him back at the end of his loan spell, and Roger Schmidt replied:

"You have to remember it's also about the will of the player and what he wants to do. With all the players who leave Benfica, the idea is to give them the opportunity to develop and gain confidence. And of course, it's always an excellent opportunity for Benfica to watch them. The aim is to have a good overview of all the players.

"But we have to make difficult decisions afterwards at the end of the season, because we also have to respect the player's wishes."

Of course, Bernardo came through the youth ranks at the Portuguese club and it would be easy to understand if he wanted to make it there. But he does seem to have a much more prominent role at Celtic at the moment.

With David Turnbull leaving and Reo Hatate injured again, one should expect to see a lot more of Bernardo over the coming weeks. It remains to be seen whether the Portuguese midfielder can deliver the goods on a consistent basis though.