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CHAMPS CHASE ECUADOR SUPERKID

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CELTIC believe they can beat off the challenge of Manchester City in the race for £2.5million-rated Ecuador wonderkid Jose Cifuentes.

Neil Lennon is hoping to expose a loophole and lure the 20-year-old prospect to the eight-in-a-row champions.

Pep Guardiola also wants to take the highly-rated South American to the Etihad with a view to loaning him to La Liga outfit Girona for a season.

The English title-winners would be unable to get a work permit immediately, so would plan to send him to Spain.

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 who was the star of Ecuador’s Under-20 side at the recent World Cup.

He plays for America de Quito in his homeland and is also being tracked by clubs in Germany and Italy.

Celtic hope the opportunity of playing in the Champions League and winning trophies can attract him to Scotland.

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