Paulo Bernardo 'ready' for Celtic transfer but compatriot warns of alternative end game

-Credit: (Image: Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)


Paulo Bernardo has been tipped to join Celtic on a permanent basis and believes it could serve as a stepping stone for the Portuguese youngster to go on and further his career.

The 22-year-old impressed in a season-long loan from Benfica last season, helping Brendan Rodgers' men lift a Premiership and Scottish Cup double. The Hoops have the option to sign Bernardo for a fee of £6million, with reports in Portugal claiming that the playmaker would entertain a permanent move to the east end of Glasgow.

Former Portuguese youth international Pedro Moutinho, who played for several clubs in his career including Martimo and Famalicao in his homeland and Falkirk and Stenhousemuir in Scotland, sees no reason for the champions not to keep Bernardo at Parkhead. Speaking to The Celtic Way, he said: "He does need to play more consistently to reach his full potential. He is ready now but there is a lot of improvement and development to happen in his game and Rodgers sees that too. With Rodgers being contracted to Celtic for another two years at least it would be an exciting enough project for Bernardo should the club take up the option-to-buy clause.

"He strikes me as the kind of player who will be a good fit for Celtic moving forward, especially with Rodgers at the helm playing the manager's brand of football. Bernardo can play as a 6, 8 or 10 and could handle playing in all those positions for Celtic if they wanted him to do that. He is a tremendous player.

"Under Rodgers, you could see Bernardo hit his levels in terms of his potential and the Celtic manager would help progress him as a player. I don't think it would be too difficult to convince the player that his immediate future lies with Celtic. Bernardo featured in all six Champions League matches last season and bearing in mind the new look Champions League and changes to that tournament format will be coming in next season then he may want to hang around and fancy a crack at that."

The 44-year-old is also in no doubt about where the midfielder's long-term ambitions lie. "I am sure that playing for Celtic has been a great career move and a wonderful experience for Bernardo.

Pedro Moutinho (centre) during his time with Falkirk -Credit:SNS Group
Pedro Moutinho (centre) during his time with Falkirk -Credit:SNS Group

"He will have enjoyed playing in the rarefied atmosphere at Celtic Park, especially in the derby matches against Rangers. Playing for a club like Celtic is something special in Scotland but the reality for many players is that their ambition is to play in the English Premier League. Scotland is on England's doorstep and by playing well for Celtic, Bernardo knows he could potentially get a move down south if he does well.

"It's a big consideration for all parties but it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Bernardo rejoins Celtic in the summer."