Well, this is the one, the one we’ve been waiting for. As Jota signs on for Celtic for five years, he has shown his commitment to the club – and with Celtic shelling out in excess of £6m to secure OUR Superstar from Portugal, Celtic have showed the club is just as committed to Jota.
The great thing about this deal is Celtic know what are getting already, having had a season to try before we buy. Add to that Jota has also experienced Scottish football – the highs, the lows, the positives and the negatives, the cold hard winter, the strange idiosyncrasies of the game in our wee footballing outpost – and he’s come back for more.
Jota says he fell in love with Celtic, well it’s safe to say the feeling was mutual when it comes to watching Jota with a ball at his feet. The cliché is there are certain types of players who you would pay your admission money alone to watch. Jota fits into that bracket.
For me Celtic have just nabbed a £20m footballer for just over six, and although a substantial outlay for a club working in the economic climate we inhabit, it’s still the steal of the century.
Jota has already shown he can perform at both a domestic level and in Europe. The performance against Betis away in the Europa league was sensational, but then came that pass to release Kyogo to score against Ferencvaros at Celtic Park in the strange 3.30pm midweek kick off. That was probably the moment all of us knew we had a superstar on our hands, yet we didn’t really, he wasn’t ours. Well, he certainly is now.
In a day and age where a functional, athletic and modestly tactically disciplined footballer can expect to go for £10m plus, Celtic have signed a bona fide game changer of a player for much less.
Jota supplies the goals and the assists that are demanded of a creative player at Celtic, but he also is one of the few players who ever ply their trade in Scotland these days who can change a gridlocked encounter with the drop of the shoulder and the flash of the feet.
Jota, in short, is the player, even on the European stage, who will be able to turn a loss into a draw and a draw into a victory. Over the course of a long arduous season and over four different competitions, players like Jota can be the marginal gain that ensures Celtic lift silverware rather than fall just short, he is the key that can unlock defences even when at their most stubbornly resistant.
Last season Jota was the one to watch, but if you were like me, it was difficult to embrace him entirely, after all we only had a lend of this kid from Benfica. As good as he looked it always felt best not to engage fully, knowing the bitter disappointment his deciding to return home or sign on elsewhere could bring.
Now the signing is confirmed, now we know he could be here for years to come, then now we can fully enjoy the talents of Jota.
It may have taken a while to get this one over the line but it’s been more than worth the wait, because Jota is just getting started. The ceiling for this player remains high above him, and for the next five years it’s going to be some journey watching him make his ascent.