Callum McGregor urges Celtic to sign 'hungry' starlet who fits club's profile

Portuguese has returned to parent club Benfica but is highly regarded by peers

Callum McGregor hopes Celtic will make a permanent move for Paulo Bernardo, believing the Portuguese fits the profile of player that the club should be signing.

Bernardo capped an impressive season-long loan spell by creating the winning goal in Saturday’s Scottish Cup final, his driving run and shot pushed out by Rangers goalkeeper Jack Butland for Adam Idah to net the rebound. Bernardo also scored in the 2-1 derby win back in December.

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The 22-year-old has returned to parent club Benfica and signed off with a message on social media saying he was “grateful for this season” and thanking the supporters. Reports in Portugal, however, suggest the midfielder isn’t expected to break into the first-team picture at Benfica. A fee in the region of £6 million would likely be enough to convert his loan spell at Celtic into a permanent arrangement and McGregor hopes the club are considering it.

Callum McGregor wants to link up once more with Paulo Bernardo at Celtic next season.Callum McGregor wants to link up once more with Paulo Bernardo at Celtic next season.
Callum McGregor wants to link up once more with Paulo Bernardo at Celtic next season.

The Celtic captain said: “Listen, he has been an important player for us – he has [great] technical quality and is a young kid who wants to do well. So that is the type of profile we want at the club. Hopefully we can bring him back. He is a great lad as well. He works ever so hard and he is a part of the group we have got. Obviously the club will decide in terms of what happens there, but that is certainly the profile that we want. You want hungry players who are technically good and can come and make an impact as well.”

Meanwhile, Celtic have confirmed that they will take on Ayr United in a friendly on Friday, July 5 to mark the opening of the new North Stand at Somerset Park. It will be the Premiership champions’ first domestic outing of their pre-season campaign and will come up against their former captain in Scott Brown, who is currently the manager of the Honest Men. Celtic also have further friendlies in the United States lined up for later in July, taking on DC United, Manchester City and Chelsea as part of a tour ahead of the 2024/25 campaign commencing in the first weekend of August.

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