Celtic Transfer News – Deal now unlikely due to Paulo Bernardo’s salary expectations

Frustrating news this morning on Celtic’s already protracted attempts to reach a deal on the proposed move for Benfica midfielder Paul Bernardo who spent last season on loan at Celtic.

Portuguese outlet Correio da Manhã have reported on a roadblock that is preventing Celtic’s intended Paulo Bernardo signing from progressing, with their understanding that the deal is now ‘unlikely’ due to the player’s wage demands.

Correio da Manhã reports that the Portuguese midfielder is currently earning €20K+ after tax at Benfica and that more than Celtic are prepared to pay Bernardo, who already knows that he is surplus to requirements at Benfica.

Bernardo spent last season on loan at Celtic and scored in the Glasgow Derby at the end of last year at Celtic Park while also getting a brilliant assist in the Scottish Cup Final for Adam Idah’s 90th minute winner over theRangers on 25 May.

March 26, 2024, Faro, Portugal. 2025 U21, U 21 EURO Qualifying, ,Portugal v Croatia – Group G. Paulo Bernardo POR and Veldin Hodza CRO.Photo Nuno Pires Veloso

The Scottish Champions has an option to buy in that loan deal but has apparently been successful in re-negotiating that asking price with Benfica. The stumbling block appears to be the player’s wage demands with Bernardo wanting Celtic to match his wages at Benfica.

That appears to be taking Celtic to beyond €1m annual salary which would take him into the top bracket of earners within the squad – and that’s not something Celtic seem prepared to do.

Having saved a considerable sum on the fee re-negotiation there may be room to manouevre in the way the deal can be structured but as things stand it appears to be as Correio da Manhã reports, unlikely that the deal will now proceed.

Celtic v Buckie Thistle – Celtic’s Paulo Bernardo celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game during the Scottish Cup match at Celtic Park on Sunday January 21, 2024. Photo Andrew Milligan

Celtic presumably were well aware of Bernardo’s contract at Benfica, having been paying all or an agreed percentage of his wages last season, so his salary expectations surely can’t have come as too much of a surprise.

Perhaps his agent will have other options lined up but at that level of salary expectations that might be a tough challenge. That would leave Bernardo fighting for a place at Benfica where he is not in the manager’s plans.

If Celtic are moving on from this deal then alternatives should now be sought, especially with the club likely to be selling Matt O’Riley for a record breaking transfer fee of around £30m in the coming months.

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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