Club chief: Celtic in talks to sign £25m-rated Champions League midfielder
By Matt Farr
Celtic are considering a summer move for highly-rated Romania midfielder Ovidiu Popescu, according to a club chief.
Steaua Bucharest owner George Becali revealed to the Daily Record that Celtic had sent scouts to watch the 23-year-old in action against Dinamo Bucharest at the weekend.
He also admitted that he had already held talks with the Scottish giants over a potential transfer, with an £8million release clause installed into his contract.
It was also revealed that a bid has already been made for midfield star Popescu, but Becali did not confirm that it was from Celtic.
Popescu only joined Steaua Bucharest at the start of the season for a paltry fee of £200,000, but is rated very highly by the Romanian club and their chief, who believes he could be worth as much as £25million one day.
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He told the Record: “Celtic came to watch him at the weekend and we’ve talked. There has already been an offer for him, although I won’t say from which club it was from.
“He has a release clause which isn’t unrealistic. He’s the most exciting player to come from Romania in years. He’s not going to be sold for nothing.
“When we signed him, I told him within a year or two I would guarantee him a move to a big club in Europe where he is paid a big salary and that’s what will happen. He will be worth £25million one day.”
Popescu featured for Steaua Bucharest earlier this season in their short-lived Champions League qualification campaign, where they were eliminated by Manchester City.
Celtic chief Brendan Rodgers is hungry to add a Champions League midfielder to his ranks to help his side compete in the competition next season, and Popescu ticks a number of the boxes.
The midfield playmaker, who can also play at right-back, has scored three goals from 30 appearances in all competitions this season.
Football Insider verdict
Popescu possesses a number of the necessary qualities to succeed in Scotland, but he may not be the Champions League-type midfielder Rodgers will be looking to add to his ranks. Given the ‘interest’ comes from the mouth of the Steaua Bucharest chief, it could be a case of the Romanian senior man looking to push for a move for one of the club’s biggest stars. He has already promised him a move to a big club, and he could be looking now to make true on his promise by bringing Celtic into the mix. That said, his £8million release clause shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.