West Ham ‘explore’ ambitious loan deal to land former Celtic star - but issue remains clear

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Former Celtic hero Jota could make a move to the Premier League this month.

West Ham United boss David Moyes is keen to strengthen his team’s attacking options with a late January move for former Celtic star Jota, according to reports.

The Benfica academy graduate moved to Glasgow in the summer of 2021 on a loan deal, which was eventually made permanent a year later for just £6.5m.

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The Portuguese winger thrived for the Hoops during his two-year stay in Scotland - scoring a combined 21 league goals and also registering 21 assists. Jota proved to be the catalyst for much of Ange Postecoglou’s success and during his time at Celtic and he was able to win two Premiership titles, two League Cups and one Scottish Cup.

By this stage, Jota was on the verge of a breakthrough at international level - making the provisional squad for Portugal’s World Cup campaign in Qatar, before narrowly missing out.

His impressive form caught the attention of a host of European clubs in the summer, but Jota like many big name players opted to complete a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia, and it was ultimately Al Ittihad who won the race to sign the star for £25m.

Jota joined the likes of Karim Benzema, Fabinho and N’Golo Kante in Jeddah, but has bizarrely had very little first team football at his new club after being omitted from the team’s league squad just weeks after arriving.

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Jota’s lack of first team action has fuelled speculation of a loan move in January. Former Hoops boss Ange Postecoglou, now of Tottenham has been credited with interest, as have Newcastle United and Aston Villa, but the main contenders to sign the star appear to be West Ham, according to Sky Sports.

The outlet explains that the Hammers are keen to bolster their squad depth so that they can continue to fire on all cylinders. West Ham are currently sixth in the Premier League - eight points adrift of Champions League football, and are also gearing up for the knockout stages of the Europa League, where they will be keen to add to their trophy cabinet after last season’s Conference League triumph.

The one stumbling block in a potential deal for Jota is the 24-year-old’s lucrative wages, and it is understood he is earning around £200,000 a week. If a deal is to take place then it is likely that the Portuguese star would have to take a significant wage cut. 

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