Celtic are desperate for a young right-back to deputise for and eventually take over from Mikael Lustig, so could Manny Perez be that man?
Celtic will likely undergo a small squad overhaul this summer, as the Bhoys’ squad has glaring holes at right back, centre back and attacking midfield, where Tom Rogic just cannot stay fit.
At right back the situation has been infuriating all season, with Lustig, Cristian Gamboa and Emilio Izaguirre all proving simply not good enough to take the club forward.
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Lustig is by far the most reliable of the three, which is why it would be no surprise to see the club extend his current deal, which expires this summer.
If that happens though, the Swede will need a young talent to push him and develop alongside him, and Perez, who joined the Hoops in January before immediately leaving on loan to North Carolina FC, could be the perfect choice.
Perez is not ready to come in and start every match week in week out, but the 20 year-old American has made a fabulous start to his loan spell, and if productive loans don’t result in first team opportunities then what is the point?
This is why he should be brought in to deputise for either Lustig or whoever is the first choice right back next season, with a view to Perez taking over the helm in the coming years.
His loan side’s season has only just started, the American outfit have played seven and won four, but Perez already has two assists to his name, including this absolutely glorious pass from a 4-1 win last weekend.
He has completed 89% of his total passes and averages nearly one key pass per game, per the club’s official site, as well as being part of a defence that concedes less than a goal-per-game in a typically high-scoring division.
Neil Lennon may well have his right back of the future right under his nose.