Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is starting to ramp up his summer recruitment drive with the imminent signing of Benfica winger Jota on a permanent basis expected later this week.
The Hoops boss has identified certain areas he would like to strengthen ahead of the Parkhead side’s return to Champions League football for the first time in five years.
GlasgowWorld understands a goalkeeper, left-back and defensive midfielder are at the top of the Australian’s wishlist.
Former Dundee United No.1 Benjamin Siegrist is set to add competition to the goalkeeping department, while Brazilian Vinicus Souza is a leading target to fill the midfield void left by Nir Bitton and Tom Rogic.
Left-sided Argentine Alexandro Bernabei also appears to feature high on the club’s list of transfer targets this summer.
The Glasgow giants had an initial bid knocked back by his parent club Lanus last week after it was deemed ‘insufficient’, but it is believed there is still room for both clubs to reach an agreement on a fee.
With Celtic competing on four fronts next season, Postecoglou is keen to bring in a left-back to challenge Greg taylor and Bernabei is seemingly a prime candidate.
Who is Alexandro Bernabei?
Born in Correa on 24 September 2000, Alexandro Ezequiel Bernabei is an Argentinian defender, who plays primarily as a left-back for Lanus.
The 21-year-old progressed through the youth ranks of the Primera Division side and enjoyed a breakthrough season in the first-team squad during the 2019/20 campaign.
He scored just six minutes into his debut during a league match against Talleres and represented Argentina at Under-19s level during the 2018 South American Games in Bolivia.
Bernabei made his Under-23 debut for the national team during a friendly against Japan in March 2021.
He made 29 appearances for his club last season, developing into a key player for Jorge Almirón’s side.
What has been said about his future?
Bernabei was omitted from three matchday squads in recent weeks, with his absence reportedly down to the player being in Europe to acquire an Italian passport.
It seems his representatitives, the Oller Group, are preparing for the next step in his career and they confirmed there is plenty of interest in their client at present, without listing the clubs in question.
The statement said: “We expect news in the next few weeks but he is calm.
“He has the ability to play and be successful in Europe. Now is not the time to dicsuss names but clubs are asking about him.”
The player has been handed a glowing recommendation from South American based football reporter Tim Vickery as he provided fans with an insight into what they can expect.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, he said: “I have not seen Bernabei for a while, but what is interesting about him is the first time I was watching him he was playing higher up the field as a left winger.
“He has got that capacity to get into the penalty area and score goals, nice left foot, good with set pieces, quick.
“Again, you wonder if he is going to get rolled over physically, but this to me looks like an intelligent piece of scouting.
“I’m a sucker for a left foot, it just opens up the field so much if you have someone with a good left foot like he has.”
How might headbutt incident affect potential move?
Bernabei was sent off last night for a shocking headbutt on an opponent during his side’s 1-0 victory over Colon.
Prior to his dismissal in the second half, the player was earning praise for his display but the straight red card could mark his last game for Lanus.
After reacting angrily to Augusto Schott’s challenge in the 69th minute, Bernabei threw his head into the face of his opponent before receiving his marching orders.
Whether Celtic’s management team call the player’s temperament into question now remains to be seen but it is unlikely the incident will hamper any potential deal.
However, the player could be forced to sit in the stands for the first two league games of the 2022/23 season if he completes a move to Glasgow.
The Argentine Football Association may include his suspension for violent conduct in the International Transfer Certificate when the SFA request the documentation.
How likely is the deal to go ahead?
Given the reports by several media outlets, his parent clubs are looking for close to £4million to sell the player and Celtic are rumoured to have entered negotations at a figure around half of that.
Lanus haven’t closed the door on Celtic yet and a follow up bid is expected. One thing is for certain, Bernabei’s next destination will be in Europe.