Ex-Celtic striker John Hartson issues Jota transfer plea as he encourages board to act swiftly or risk losing him to Europe’s elite

The 22-year-old has enjoyed an explosive start to life at Parkhead

John Hartson fears Celtic loanee Jota could be targeted by some of the biggest clubs in European football and has encouraged the Parkhead hierarchy to secure him on a permanent deal in January.

The Portuguese winger has been in scintillating form since joining from Benfica, with six goals and as many assists in 11 appearances so far.

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The Hoops have an option to buy the 22-year-old for a reported £6.5million and ex-striker Hartson wants the Celtic board to act swiftly or risk losing the player to one of Europe’s elite.

Hartson knows it won’t be long before clubs such as Bayern Munich and PSG take notice of Jota’s performances and express an interest in signing him.

He said: “You do it now, you do it now. In January, you do it. He’s made a great impact and although Celtic have first refusal it doesn’t mean you get him over the line.

“They have an option to get him, but his agent and Jota will have the decision whether it will be Celtic or not.

“You don’t want Jota to be on 20 goals by February and then a Bayern Munich come in and say to his agent ‘we’ll give you £10million if you get him to us.’ That could happen.

“A Bayern Munich or a PSG might come in and say, ‘we want this kid, he’s 22, he’s lit the place up at Celtic, he looks dynamite.

“You know agents are running the game right now. They speak to clubs, they speak to chairmen. All managers have agents, this is how they do the deals.

“I would recommend Celtic do it as swiftly as they can because he is a very special player.”

Jota has formed a lethal strike force alongside Kyogo Furuhashi and Liel Abada in recent months.

It is testament to the work of Hoops manager Ange Posteocoglou and Hartson reckons the club’s board must back the Aussie again in January as he looks to unearth further gems in upcoming transfer window.

He added: “Kyogo has been a brilliant signing, a brilliant find and I think Ange has got his eye on that Japanese market. I think the club have to back him.

“He’s got a bit of everything. In terms of coming from Japan, he has 12 goals already and some of those goals shoe you that he is a world-class operator.

“His relationship with Jota is unique. It is very similar to something like Henrik Larsson and Stan Petrov’s, or Chris Sutton or Henrik.

“He has just got that feeling about him, Kyogo, and Celtic have got that feeling about them with Jota, Abada and him.”