CELTIC’S move for Paulo Bernardo could hit the rocks because of the midfielder’s wages at Benfica, according to a report in the Portuguese media.

The claim in the Correio da Manha states the champions are unlikely to bring back the playmaker following his successful loan season after his financial package at the Lisbon giants had been revealed.

Bernardo, 22, is under contract until June 2027 and is alleged to be picking up something in the region of £18,000 per week.

The local journal insists any proposed move has been placed in jeopardy and says Celtic “would need a very good offer to convince him to give up on what he gets from Benfica”.

JUST CHAMPION…Paulo Bernardo celebrates after Celtic’s 5-0 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park to seal the club’s third successive title.

It also adds that Brendan Rodgers’ side reckon Bernardo is on “too high a salary” and could pull out of any deal.

It goes beyond preposterous to believe the Parkhead powerbrokers are now just learning what Bernardo earns at his club side.

Does anyone think the Hoops moneymen brokered a season-long temporary deal – with a transfer tag of something in the region of £6.3million involved if the player impressed – and hadn’t a clue what it would take to at least match or better his financial package in Lisbon?

Wasn’t it possible Celtic agreed to pay a percentage or all of the player’s wages when the move was sealed?

There are many aspects to transfer deals with agents and lawyers brought in to make sure everything is in place before the final forms are signed.

This is not new ground for anyone at the team which has dominated Scotland for 12 out of the past 13 years and will hope to have new signings in place by the time they head for their tour of the USA on July 20.

Skipper Callum McGregor has already urged the Parkhead contract gurus to snap up Bernardo after admitting he had been impressed by the former Portuguese Under-21 international.

Bernardo made 33 appearances and contributed to the Hoops’ double-winning campaign.

CUP WINNER ON THE WAY…Paulo Bernardo races away from Nico Raskin as he prepares to fire in the drive that flummoxes Jack Butland and presents the clinching goal to Adam Idah.

He played a crucial role in the last-minute Scottish Cup-winning strike when he surged forward from the centre circle after evading a clumsy lunge from Nico Raskin.

Bernardo continued his run before firing a swerving shot from 25 yards that completely bamboozled Jack Butland and the Ibrox keeper could only palm the ball to Adam Idah who unhesitatingly thrashed in the rebound from close range.

Afterwards, the skilful ball artiste took to social media to say: “Grateful for the season. Thank you very much for all the support.”

McGregor, as reported in CQN, said: “Paulo has been an important player for us. He has big technical quality and he’s a young kid who wants to do well.

“That’s the type of profile we want at the club. Hopefully, we can bring him back.

“He’s a great lad, as well. He works ever so hard and he’s a part of the group we have.

“Obviously, the club will decide what happens, but that’s certainly the profile we want.

“You want hungry players who are technically good and can come and also make an impact.”

HOOP HOOP HOORAY…Matt O’Riley celebrates with Paulo Bernardo after the Portuguese ace’s strike in the 3-0 win at Livingston in March.

Rodgers agreed with his onfield leader and added the club bosses “will push the matter towards the end of the season to try to renegotiate the price.”

Bernardo, like Filipe Jota before him, has been unable to gatecrash head coach Roger Schmidt’s Benfica’s first-team squad and a transfer appears to be the perfect solution.

Celtic may – or may not – be able to thrash out a transfer fee compromise with the Lisbon club, but if Bernardo does not return to Glasgow any time soon it will NOT be because they have just discovered the player’s wages at Benfica.


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