Are Celtic now the favourites to sign £2m Jose Cifuentes?

manager Pep Guardiola of Manchester City looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City at Selhurst Park on April 14, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

Manchester City reportedly made a bid for Ecuador midfielder Cifuentes but Celtic might have the advantage now.

Jose Cifuentes of Ecuador controls the ball during the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup Third Place Play-Off match between Italy and Ecuador at Gdynia Stadium on June 14, 2019 in Gdynia, Poland.

The battle to sign Ecuadorian wonder-kid Jose Cifuentes might have just become a one-horse race.

According to the Scottish Sun in early August, the champions of England and Scotland were going head-to-head for the 20-year-old America de Quito starlet in an old-school, ‘Battle of Britain'-style transfer tussle.

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Manchester City made a bid of £2 million for Cifuentes, who shot to fame with a series of all-action displays during the U20 World Cup earlier this summer, but a potential move to the Etihad Stadium fell through with Pep Guardiola’s side reluctant to fork over a substantial chunk of cash to his agent.

 

With the English transfer window slamming shut one week ago, this might have left Celtic free to negotiate a deal for a player who is clearly flattered by interest from the dominant force of Scottish football.

"It would be very interesting to play there, in the Scottish league. They're are a good team - and I want to be the protagonist in a lot of competitions,” Cifuentes told Football Scotland earlier in August.

Jose Cifuentes of Ecuador competes for the ball with Oh Sehun of Korea Republic during the FIFA U-20 World Cup Semi Final match between Ecuador and Korea Republic on June 11, 2019 in...

A deep-lying midfielder with a wonderful passing range and the stamina to run for days, signing Cifuentes certainly makes sense, especially after Scott Brown endured a night to forget in Celtic’s humiliating Champions League defeat to Cluj on Tuesday.

The captain is not getting any younger and, at the age of 34, doubts persist about his ability to control games against European opposition these days.

Cifuentes would not only provide some much-needed competition, he would also give Celtic a long-term successor once Brown finally calls it a day.

Scott Brown of Celtic FC in action   during the UEFA Champions League 2019

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