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The summer arrival that really has Rodgers purring

Brendan Rodgers has spoken positively about signing Paolo Bernardo at the end of his loan spell.

The midfielder had been a very slow burner but that all changed around Christmas as he nailed down the third midfield spot alongside Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley.

Tomiki Iwata, David Turnbull and Odin Thiago Holm had all been tried but the best compliment that Bernardo could get is that he looked every bit as accomplished as his two midfield team-mates as Celtic went into the break on the back of four successive wins.

Crucially Bernardo opened the scoring away to Dundee and in the Glasgow Derby, suddenly his game moved up a level with Celtic looking all the better for it.

One way or another Holm, Iwata and Kwon Hyeok-kyu were signed during the summer but it is the last week of the window loan signing of Bernardo that has got Rodgers purring.

Discussing the Portuguese u-21 midfielder, the Celtic boss told the Daily Record:

I’m delighted with the emergence of Paulo. There is an agreement with the club, an option for us to activate that, if we want to do it. He came in and gradually he has learnt the principles of our play. Leading into the Rangers game last month I knew he was going to start and we wanted to give him a run of matches. He’s been fantastic.

And he has got an old head on young shoulders. He’s a top professional. I can see him emerging and growing now as a person, feeling more confident amongst the players. He now has real clarity in how we play and how we work – and you see his game flourishing. He’s been excellent and I expect him to get better.

We’ll assess it. I’ll sit down with him at some point towards the end of the season and take it from there. Do we know the fee involved? Yeah. But clearly the player would have to agree as well, it’s a two-way situation. But I can see Paulo is really enjoying his time here. He is improving and developing. Is the fee realistic? I’m not going to say what it is but, absolutely, otherwise it wouldn’t be in place.

Various fee have been suggested for a permanent move, from the Jota experience Benfica will have every angle and eventuality covered.

Whatever the fee might be the Lisbon side will have a healthy sell on clause- just in case there is a £25m bid coming in from Saudi Arabia or elsewhere a year down the line.

CLICK HERE for Sutton’s transfer warning to Rodgers.

CLICK HERE for Bernardo’s Transfermarkt profile.

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