CELTIC are in talks about taking Mexican World Cup winger Javier Aquino on loan.
The Villarreal right winger has been told he will be allowed to go out on loan this season because his club have more than the allowed three non-EU players for La Liga’s strict quota rules.
The Spaniards don’t want to sell him and so have agreed to lend him to Celtic for a season-long deal so he can experience European football.
The 24-year-old is believed to have already travelled to Glasgow to finalise the deal.
Aquino helped Mexico win the 2012 Olympics tournament in London and went to Brazil this summer as a member of Mexico’s World Cup squad.
He was a last-minute replacement for Club Leon’s Luis Montes, who suffered a broken leg in Mexico’s last pre-World Cup friendly against Ecuador.
He came on after an hour of Mexico’s second-round 2-1 defeat by the Netherlands, which was his only outing during the summer tournament.
The former Cruz Azul star made 33 appearances for Villarreal last season, but many were off the bench.
His agent, Mario Ordiales, has confirmed Aquino will be playing his football elsewhere this season.
He said: “There is interest from outside Spain and one club in particular is at a very advanced stage in the negotiations.
“But we have been assured this is just a loan and not a transfer and only for one season.”
Aquino moved to the then-Spanish Second Division side in January last year and the transfer caused so much interest in his homeland that the Villarreal website crashed because of internet traffic from Mexico. He helped Villarreal return to La Liga, but was increasingly used as an impact sub last term to help the El Madrigal side finish in sixth place.
Rayo Vallecano were also keen to borrow Aquino, but Villarreal are determined to send him to Celtic, with whom they enjoy a good relationship.
After the World Cup, Aquino said: “It was a wonderful experience to be part of such a great tournament, although we are disappointed to have been knocked out in the circumstances we did to Holland.
“Now I have to concentrate on getting back to playing for Villarreal and having a good season again.”
But his club have other plans for him and have farmed him out to the Scottish Premiership.
The last Mexican to play for Celtic was flop Efrain Juarez, who cost the Scottish champions £4 million and was later allowed to return to his homeland for nothing
Aquino would be new Celtic manager Ronny Deila’s second summer signing. Former Hearts and Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon joined earlier this month.