CELTIC are stepping up their efforts to solve one of their main problem positions with a loan move for Manchester City right-back Yan Couto.

Ange Postecoglou has acknowledged the fact is squad is desperately short on options for the No.2 slot following the January departures of Jeremie Frimpong to Bayer Leverkusen and Hatem Abd Elhamed to Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

Anthony Ralston, who has moved into the final year of his deal, played the entire 90 minutes of the 1-1 draw with FC Midtjylland in the first leg of the Champions League second round qualifier at Parkhead during the week and will almost certainly line up in the return in Denmark on Wednesday.

The Hoops boss, though, is determined to bring in competition for the role and has received good reports on 19-year-old Brazilian Couto, but is aware he could face competition from Portuguese clubs, according to a report on Sky Sports News.

The teen ace, who won the Under-17 World Cup with his country in 2019, spent last season on loan at La Liga 2 club Girona where he made four appearances in the Copa del Rey and featured 22 times in the Segunda Division.

Couto agreed a five-year deal when he joined the Etihad giants last summer from local side Coritiba.

Sheffield United’s £4million-rated George Baldock remains a priority for Postcoglou, but the relegated Yorkshire club are not keen to part with their dependable 28-year-old right-sided operator.

The Hoops have also looked at Rennes full-back pair Brandon Soppy and Sacha Boey, a target for Galatasaray, while Derby County’s Nathan Byrne has come on the radar.

Couto’s City team-mate, Japanese international defender Ko Itakura, is another who is interesting Postecoglou.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v West Ham this afernoon – only in your champion CQN.

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