CELTIC chief executive Peter Lawwell has signalled his intent to sign Chinese midfielder Zhang Xizhe.
Zhang, named the Chinese Football Association’s young player of 2012, was described as “phenomenal” by Lawwell during the chief executive’s recent trip to China.
Lawwell was part of the delegation which signed a £20m deal to show SPFL games on a Chinese network.
The Celtic chief executive described the midfielder as similar in style to Japanese cult hero Shunsuke Nakamura, and said that he was confident that Zhang can force his way into the Parkhead team.
Lawwell said: “(Zhang) would need to prove himself. Next year, we will return to Beijing to discuss matters relating to business cooperation and when the time is right, we will invite Zhang to join the team.”
The midfielder has been capped seven times by the Chinese national side, scoring one goal.
Two other Chinese footballers have played for Celtic - former China captain Zheng Zhi played 19 games in the 2009-2010 season, while Du Wei played just 45 minutes of a cup defeat to Clyde before being released in 2006.