ECUADOR wonderboy Jose Cifuentes has admitted Celtic are in a two-way fight for his signature, as CQN reported THIRTEEN days ago.
The midfielder impressed at the recent World Cup Under-21 tournament in Poland when he was scouted by the Hoops and Manchester City.
Cifuentes, speaking in The Sun, admitted: “My aim is to play in Europe.
“I don’t know which club I will sign for yet – either Manchester City or Celtic. Nothing has been decided yet.
“I deserve my opportunity to play in Europe, it’s where I have to be. And my mentality is that I am going to be in Europe for a long time.
“I have spent a lot of time studying and they taught me many things, including English which I now understand better.
“To become a great footballer, I must learn languages and not just English. The studying has helped me on and off the pitch because I now believe I make decisions faster.
“Even when I do go to Europe, I want to continue studying. I want to have another profession besides football. Since I was little I thought about going into business.
“The World Cup in Poland was a dream for me and the team. No-one imagined Ecuador would reach the semi-finals and it was a great success.
“To wear the shirt of my country was a beautiful experience and it was great to play against the best players in the world of my age group.
“My next ambition is to be part of the team that plays in the World Cup in Qatar in 2022. I will work very hard for it.”
Neil Lennon is hoping to expose a loophole and lure the 20-year-old prospect to the eight-in-a-row champions.
The English title-winners would be unable to get a work permit immediately. They would have to wait until Cifuentes won his first full cap which would help meet the current criteria.
However, permit laws are different in Scotland and the Hoops should be able to register him immediately and Parkhead bosses hope that will give them the upper hand as they chase the powerful operator.
He plays for America de Quito in his homeland and has also been tracked by clubs in Germany and Italy, but has now revealed it is a straight choice between Parkhead and The Etihad.
Lennon has already identified midfield as another area that needs strengthening and would have landed Motherwell teenager David Turnbull in a £3.25million deal if a medical hadn’t flagged up knee problem.