Celtic have been linked today with a move for the Benfica midfielder.
Here’s everything Celtic fans need to know about the 23-year-old...
Clubs around Europe are monitoring his situation
It is thought Celis should be available for a fee around £2m as Benfica are happy just to recoup the €2.28m they spent on him this past summer. He’s made just two appearances for the Portuguese side since the move.
Dynamo Kiev and Club Brugge have been credited with an interest in the player, while we can also add Turkish side Besiktas to the list.
Celis is viewed as an up-and-coming talent and few clubs have been put off by his inactivity at Benfica since the summer switch.
He’s a Colombian international
Celis has made six appearances for the national side, all of which have come this past year. He started twice at this year’s Copa America as Colombia made it to the semi-finals before exiting to eventual winners Chile. Celis featured in the final group game, a loss against Costa Rica, and the third place play-off victory over USA.
He is not a Darlington Nagbe replacement
Celtic were heavily linked with Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nadge. The rumoured deal went further than pure newspaper speculation as the American attended Celtic’s Champions League tie with Barcelona as a guest of the club. However, that deal now looks dead in the water.
It’s led to speculation that Celtic’s interest in Celis is in response to losing out on Nagbe. However, unless Rodgers has completely changed his strategic outlook for his team, this is unlikely to be the case.
Nagbe is an attacking midfielder who looks to dribble with the football and use his pace to drive at opponents. Celic is more of a battler at the defensive midfield role.
If Celtic can resurrect the Nagbe deal, there is space for both of them at Parkhead.
He could be eventual successor to Scott Brown
On the ball, Celis is a sound technical player who isn’t afraid to receive possession into feet when under pressure from an opponent, at which point he’ll look to turn away and keep the move flowing. He’s got a stocky frame which gives him good upper body strength and a low centre of gravity, and he uses his stamina to get himself up the park, scoring four times in his final full season with Colombian side Junior. He’s more Scott Brown than Nir Bitton or even Stuart Armstrong.
While Brown remains the first-choice Celtic midfielder, bringing in an able deputy is no bad thing. The club captain will turn 32 next summer and can’t go on forever, while the pair would provide an intimidating pairing in some of Celtic’s tougher contests, like in the Champions League.
Like Brown in his younger days, he does lack a bit of discipline at times, often over-committing when closing down an opponent or lunging in when there’s no need. It’s contributed to him being sent off three times already in his 100-game career.