Scottish Premiership champions Celtic held talks with Andraz Sporar in January but he chose to join Primeira Liga giants Sporting Lisbon instead.
Andraz Sporar insists that he is ‘really glad’ that he chose Sporting Lisbon over Celtic during the January transfer window, speaking to Sport, despite his slow start to life in Portugal.
With the Scottish Premiership champions aiming to ease the goalscoring burden on Odsonne Edouard, they went into the winter with a new centre-forward right at the top of their wish-list.
And Sporar, after netting a remarkable 20 goals in 26 games for Slovan Bratislava in the first half of the campaign, emerged as their number one target. But after holding talks with Celtic, the Slovenian international sealed a £5.5 million move to the Portuguese capital instead.
Sporar has found the net in each of his last two matches for Sporting, having drawn blanks in his first four, and he has no regrets about choosing one green-and-white shirt over the other.
“I’m really glad I made a deal with Sporting,” he said. “If I had to do it 10 times in a row, I would have chosen Sporting 10 times.”
From an outside perspective, the respective top flights of Scotland and Portugal have a few similarities. Both have an established elite who dominate season on season, with the rest interchanging positions below.
But while Celtic and Rangers are miles ahead in Scotland, the likes of Benfica, Porto, Braga and even Vitoria Guimaraes have plenty of quality in their ranks – the latter outplaying Arsenal across two Europa League group-stage games in the autumn.
“In Portugal there are Benfica, Porto, Sporting, Braga, but also other clubs are greatly organised,” Sporar adds. “You have very good matches there in every round.”
After missing out on Sporar, Celtic snapped up young Pole Patryk Klimala instead. But, with just 15 minutes of league football under his belt so far, it’s fair to say he has a lot to do to live up to his £3.5 million price-tag.