Jose Cifuentes ‘could sign for Celtic’ as Neil Lennon transfer hunt continues

Ecuadorian midfielder Jose Cifuentes has claimed that he could sign for Celtic, according to reports.

The 20-year-old, who plays for América de Quito in the country’s capital, is targeting a move to Europe, with Manchester City and Celtic touted as potential destinations.

According to The Sun, Cifuentes said: “My aim is to play in Europe. I don’t know which club I will sign for yet – either Manchester City or Celtic.

“Nothing has been decided yet.”

However, while a report in El Comercio quoted the player as saying he fancies a crack in British football, Celtic’s name was noticeably absent.

Cifuentes is quoted as saying: “My intention is to leave. I have given everything for America de Quito.

“I hope to leave before the end of the year.

“One of the interested teams is Manchester City. I would like to be there. I like English football. I want to go out and take on new challenges.”

Meanwhile, Neil Lennon continues the search for new faces, following the signings of Christopher Jullien, Luca Connell and Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo.

Israeli centre-half Hatem Abd Elhamed has been linked with a £1.6m switch from Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

The 28-year-old won his first international cap last month, appearing as a late sub for Celtic utility man Nir Bitton in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Poland.

Celtic already have Jullien, who Neil Lennon has said will be first choice at the back. Kristoffer Ajer has grown into the jersey recently, while Jozo Simunovic looked the part in the latter stages of last season.

However, his sending off against St Gallen was a reminder of his red card against Alashkert last summer as Celtic were cruising through their Champions League qualifier.

That one followed on from his Ibrox dismissal, with the game hanging in the balance. Celtic went on to win 3-2 and all but end any hint of a title challenge from Ibrox there and then.

As Simunovic also struggles to play on plastic pitches, Lennon will be keen for reinforcements, while Jack Hendry remains an option.

Husein Balić is another who has been linked with a move. The Bosnia and Herzegovina wide man, who plays for St Pölten in the Austrian top tier, is interesting Lennon.

Celtic seem well covered for wingers, with Forrest, Sinclair, Johnston and Shved, but with Stephen McGowan in the Daily Mail running with it, there could be something in this one.

Meanwhile, Lennon was reportedly pictured at Edinburgh Airport ahead of a flight to Stockholm, as the hunt for a right-back continues, with top target Jack Stacey reportedly interesting Bournemouth.

Lennon was pictured with a fan in what looked like an airport lounge. If he is indeed over there, here’s hoping he comes back with another Lustig, Larsson or Mjallby in his back pocket.

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