John Hartson has issued a warning to Celtic regarding the permanent transfer of Jota ahead of the January transfer window.
In recent comments cited by the Daily Record, the former Celtic striker stated his belief that Michael Nicholson and his transfer team at Parkhead must look to secure the €7.5m (£6.5m) permanent signing of the Benfica loanee prior to the opening of the winter window, as a number of Europe’s leading clubs could be plotting a swoop for the 22-year-old.
Speaking about the situation of the Portugal under-21 international, Hartson said: “You do it now, you do it now. In January, you do it. He’s made a great impact and although Celtic have first refusal it doesn’t mean you get him over the line.
“They have an option to get him, but his agent and Jota will have the decision whether it will be Celtic or not. You don’t want Jota to be on 20 goals by February and then a Bayern Munich come in and say to his agent ‘we’ll give you £10m if you get him to us.’
“That could happen – a Bayern Munich or a PSG might come in and say, ‘we want this kid, he’s 22, he’s lit the place up at Celtic, he looks dynamite.’ I would recommend Celtic to it as swiftly as they can because he is a very special player.”
It is easy to understand Hartson’s concern regarding the future of Jota, as the winger has already proven to be a remarkable addition to Ange Postecoglou’s first team squad since his arrival on loan back in August.
Indeed, over his nine Premiership appearances so far this season, the £3.15m-rated forward has scored four goals, provided four assists and created two big chances for his teammates, as well as taking 2.9 shots and making 1.4 key passes per game.
These metrics have seen the man who Postecoglou dubbed an “unbelievable” player average a highly impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.40, ranking the winger as the eighth-best performer in the Scottish top flight.
The £7.1k-per-week 22-year-old has also hugely impressed over his four Europa League games for Celtic, bagging one goal, registering two assists and creating four big chances for his teammates – returns which have seen him average an even more astonishing SofaScore match rating of 7.55 in Europe.
As such, it would indeed seem advisable for Nicholson to tie up the winger’s permanent switch to Parkhead at the earliest possible opportunity, as Jota’s performances will more than likely be attracting a significant amount of attention, just as Hartson suggests.