If Celtic intend to turn ‘positive’ scouting reports into genuine transfer interest in Velez Sarsfield left back Francisco Ortega, it now appears £3.4m will be the asking price, yet tough competition in the shape of Portuguese giants Benfica awaits.
That’s according to Portuguese publication Ojogo who advise both on the asking fee and how Rui Pedro Braz, Benfica’s sporting director, has already made his way to Argentina.
The full back only turned 23 in March, and already has 91 appearances – and 10 assists – under his belt with his club, with Copa Libertadores experience as well as domestic Argentinian domestic performances already bagged.
The player also has some level of versatility in his armoury, and whilst 80 of his appearances have come in his favoured left back spot, Ortega has also performed eight times at left midfield and a further three times as a left winger, something that may well appeal to Ange Postecoglou.
At international level the player has a further 15 appearances made, 12 of which came at Under 20 level, but more recently two more for the Argentina under 23 side, before his inclusion in the Argentina Olympic squad also saw him pick up a cap there, and that would certainly indicate that at club and international level Ortega is making steady progress for one so young.
Celtic have already been linked with a left back in the shape of Hammarby’s Iraqi international left back Mohanad Jeahze, however Ange Postecoglou appeared to not even recognise the name of the player when quizzed at a recent press conference, but with links to Ortega coming from the normally reliable Stephen McGowan at the Scottish Daily Mail l there may well be some merit in Celtic’s links with this particular left back, with Celtic clearly looking to add competition for Greg Taylor ahead of next season.
If Ortega is the target, it will mean going head-to-head with Benfica on this one. And whilst not an impossible barrier to overcome it certainly means Celtic face tough competition. However, if you are targeting top quality players, keeping company with the likes of Benfica is certainly a sign you’re doing your doing something right in the scouting department, that’s for sure.
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