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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: CELTIC EYE £26m SPANISH TEEN WITH GERS ALSO LINKED, MORELOS BOOST, GOODWIN TARGET

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CELTIC have been linked with Atletico Madrid’s teenage winger Rodrigo Riquelme who is out of contract in June.

Rangers, too, have been mentioned alongside the hot prospect in a report in local newspaper Marca, but it is clear Steven Gerrard would have to have a clear-out at Ibrox to make way for fresh talent in the summer.

The 19-year-old rising star in La Liga has yet to agree new terms with his club and is poised to walk free in the summer which will veto any chance of the Spanish giants activating a £26million release clause in his contract.

Hoops boss Neil Lennon will be on the look-out for a wide player at the end of the season following the double January sale of Scott Sinclair, to Preston, and Lewis Morgan, to David Beckham’s new MLS outfit Inter Miami. The Hoops boss will also have to make a decision on Mohamed Elyounoussi whose season-long deal from Southampton ends in June.

And Marian Shved, as Scotzine reported earlier today, appears to have made a bad choice in quitting Ukrainian football to join the champions in a £2million switch in January 2018. He, too, could make an exit from the champions.

Riquelme is said to be pondering his future while Bundesliga side Hoffenheim have also been named as interested parties as well as a handful of Dutch clubs.

Gerrard’s talent spotters were impressed by the Spaniard’s display in Atletico’s 4-0 UEFA Youth League win over the Gers Under-19 side last month.

Diego Simeone handed the exciting talent his first-team debut in September last year as a substitute against Eibar.

But Riquelme has yet to feature again and could now quit for game-time elsewhere.

ALFREDO MORELOS has been called into the Colombia provisional squad for their World Cup 2022 qualifiers against Venezuela and Chile.

The Ibrox hitman, who has scored only one goal in 2020 after claiming 28 in the first half of the season, has made Carlos Quieroz’s initial 34-man pool, despite recent form.

However, the controversial hitman may yet be cut from the final squad as the head coach can only call upon 23 players.

The 23-year-old attacker hopes to be involved in his country’s Copa America tournament later this year. The player has made seven international appearances and scored one goal which came against Peru.

JIM GOODWIN has ordered his St Mirren players to relax as they attempt to increase their lead over the Premiership’s rock-bottom outfit Hearts in their home game on Wednesday.

The Paisley side, hammered 5-0 by champions Celtic at Parkhead on Saturday, are three points above the Tynecastle visitors and both teams will have eight league games left after their midweek meeting.

Goodwin, speaking to BBC Scotland, admitted: “You can’t play to your full potential if you are riddled with nerves.

“There is no point in being anxious or uptight or anything like that. I don’t expect that to be the case with the lads, they know exactly what is expected of them. There’s no fear, no nerves, just go and enjoy the game, enjoy the occasion.

“The incentive is to open the gap even more between ourselves and Hearts and if we win all of a sudden we would jump a couple of places. I think, psychologically, that would be a big boost to the fans and the players.

The Saints, who are a point behind Hamilton Accies, are one of only three teams the struggling Edinburgh team have beaten in the league in this campaign, while their first meeting ended goalless.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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