Scottish Premiership giants Celtic missed out on the chance to sign £6.5 million loanee Filipe Jota for just £200,000, former chief scout David Moss tells The Mail.
There was a moment, just a few minutes into Saturday’s 1-0 Scottish League Cup semi-final victory over St Johnstone, which summed up the confidence which is coursing through Jota’s veins right now.
Bamboozling a Saints defender with one of those trademark, on-a-sixpence turns, the Portugal U21 international then picked out Liel Abada at the far post with a mind-bending rabona that would have left even Cristiano Ronaldo puffing out his cheeks and raising a perfectly-shaped eyebrow or two.
Alongside Asian sensation Kyogo Furuhashi, Jota has been nothing short of a revelation since joining Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic on loan from Benfica last summer, a tally of six goals and six assists only scratching the surface of his influence.
And while £6.5 million is not the sort of fee Celtic can just fish out from down the back of the sofa – the financial disparities between clubs south of the border and those on the northern side has seldom been wider – the option-to-buy clause in Jota’s contract already looks like an opportunity just too good to miss.
But, as Moss points out, Celtic could have saved themselves some £6.3 million if they had acted on Helena Costa’s advice six years ago.
Why did Celtic not sign Jota for £200k?
“She coached Jota at the Benfica academy from when he was eight or nine years old and she recommended him to Celtic when he was around 16.
“I was scouting for the Celtic academy when she said to me: ‘David, you need to try and sign this winger before he signs a contract with Benfica’.
“I went over there a few times to watch him and met him and his parents. For whatever reason, I just don’t think Celtic were in a position back then to go and spend £200,000 or whatever the fee would have been to take on a teenage player with no first-team experience.”
Postecoglou admitted to the Scottish Sun recently that would jump at the chance to tie Jota down to a long-term contract at Parkhead, insisting that the one-time Real Valladolid winger is ‘loving life’ in Glasgow.
Moss, unsurprisingly, believes this would be £6.5 million very well spent.
“I haven’t seen every game Jota has played but he is a player Celtic should try to sign,” Moss adds. “Clubs down south will definitely be sitting up taking note of his form now.
“The good thing about him is that he has always scored goals and produced an end product. Helena always said he had end product.”