CELTIC will step up their interest in Atletico Madrid winger Rodrigo Riquelme when the season resumes.
The Hoops scouts have watched the highly-rated 20-year-old forward in the Spanish side’s development team since the start of this campaign.
Manager Diego Simeone, who plotted the Champions League downfall of holders Liverpool before the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, handed Riquelme his La Liga debut as a substitute against Eibar in September.
He also came off the bench in January’s Copa Del Rey defeat away to minnows C Leonesa.
The Madrid-born starlet scored six goals and assisted seven in 28 games for Atletico’s B side before the campaign was halted.
Riquelme, who has been rated in the £20million bracket, despite his inexperience, will be out of contract in the summer and available as a free agent and that has attracted Neil Lennon, according to a report in the Scottish Sun.
Meanhwile, the champions are poised to raid the best of the English teenage market – as they did in the summer.
Lennon’s side brought in Jeremie Frimpong (Manchester City), Lee O’Conner (Manchester United) and Jonathan Afolabi (Southampton) in cross-border deals during the August transfer window.
Now the Hoops have set their sights on a trio of Everton’s academy stars, midfielder Anthony Gordon and defenders Morgan Feeney and Lewis Gibson, according to a report in The Athletic.
The eight-in-a-row champions have had scouts at most of the Goodison outfit’s Under-18s and Under-23s games this season and apparently they have been impressed by the youngsters.
The report insists the Parkhead men were interested in taking Gordon on loan in January, but the Merseyside outfit knocked back their request.
Gordon, Feeney and Gibson will remain on the Bhoys’ radar when the season resumes following the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Attacking right-back Frimpong, whose transfer fee will rise to £1million with add-ons, has hit the ground running in his Hoops career after making his debut in the 5-0 Betfred League Cup victory over Partick Thistle in September and won his first medal in the 1-0 triumph over Steven Gerrard’s side in the tournament at Hampden in December.
Defender O’Conner, who made his Republic of Ireland international debut in November, joined Championship side Partick Thistle on loan in January and striker Afolabi also agreed a temporary switch to Dunfermline at the same time.