Celtic have already found success once when it comes to signing players from Benfica on loan. Jota was able to establish himself as the club's 'superstar from Portugal', was signed on a permanent basis and eventually moved for a Scottish record £25 million transfer fee to join Al-Ittihad. Could we see a repeat of that soon?
Celtic signed Paulo Bernardo on loan from Benfica in the summer. For the most part, he was having an unremarkable time at Parkhead.
Bernardo has come into his own in recent weeks though. Over the last three games, he has scored and assisted twice each. That includes the fantastic opener against the Rangers in the 2-1 Glasgow Derby win.
Naturally, there have been calls for the club to sign Bernardo permanently from Benfica. And Brendan Rodgers has given a positive update on that situation.
Celtic boss drops possible hint about signing Bernardo
While holding the cards close to his chest, Rodgers has described the fee it would take to sign Bernardo permanently as 'realistic'. As reported by the Daily Record, the Celtic manager said about the matter:
"We’ll assess it. I’ll sit down with him at some point towards the end of the season and take it from there. Do we know the fee involved? Yeah. But clearly the player would have to agree as well, it’s a two-way situation. But I can see Paulo is really enjoying his time here. He is improving and developing. Is the fee realistic? I’m not going to say what it is but, absolutely, otherwise it wouldn’t be in place."
Of course, Bernardo will have some added competition for his place in the team soon. Reo Hatate has recently returned from fitness and is expected to compete for a starting spot.
He is currently with the Japan national team at the AFC Asian Cup though. That should give Bernardo a run of games to potentially solidify himself as a starter in Rodgers' eyes.
Of course, perceptions change quickly in football. Some week back, most Celtic fans were unimpressed with Bernardo. Now, he is being viewed as a top prospect. Let's see what the view is come the end of the season.
One would hope that Bernardo is open to the prospect of staying at Celtic. It certainly would make sense rather than going back to Benfica, where he came through the youth ranks but has barely made an impression at the senior level.