Is Porto's Ivan Marcano exactly what Celtic's Brendan Rodgers is looking for?

Celtic Manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates during the William Hill Scottish Cup Final between Celtic and Aberdeen at Hampden Park on May 27, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Brendan Rodgers wants quality, not to mention availability and affordability - Champions League veteran Ivan Marcano could be exactly that.

Celtic Manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates during the William Hill Scottish Cup Final between Celtic and Aberdeen at Hampden Park on May 27, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Brendan Rodgers made it his ambition this season for Celtic to still be in European football after Christmas.

And though the Scottish champions’ hopes of reaching the knockout round of the Champions League was ended after just four of six group stage games, Celtic are well placed to qualify for a place in the Europa League as they sit three points clear of point-less Anderlecht.

Rodgers, then, is close to achieving one of his aims for the New Year. And the Scottish Sun reports that another objective on his to-do list is to find ‘available and affordable’ players who could improve Celtic’s squad – with a new centre-back his top priority.

The Hoops’ backline has been stretched this season thanks to injuries to Erik Sviatchenko, Dedryck Boyata and Jozo Simunovic – meaning midfielder Nir Bitton (below) was once again fielded in the defence during last week’s 2-1 home defeat to Bayern Munich.

Nir Bitton (C) of Celtic is tracked by Josh Windass (L) and Rob Kiernan (R) of Rangers during the Betfred Cup Semi-Final match between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park on October 23,...

Though if Rodgers wants quality, experience and affordability, there are a few players out there who fit the bill. Porto centre-half Ivan Marcano for one.

The 30-year-old Spaniard is out of contract in the summer and may just be available on a cut-price deal in the January window. And Marcano would not only offer depth but vital European experience too to Celtic’s backline.

Chelsea's Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa (L) is tackled by Porto's Spanish defender Ivan Marcano (R) during the UEFA Champions League Group G football match between Chelsea and...

Marcano, who was the subject of a late summer bid from Everton according to The Mail, has made 22 Champions League appearances for Porto, Olympiakos and Rubin Kazan. He has the nous and the big-game familiarity, then, that so few of Celtic’s squad possess.

An excellent passer of the ball, too, Marcano should have no problems fitting into Rodgers' philosophy. In many ways, Marcano ticks all the boxes.

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