ECUADOR’S World Cup centre-back Piero Hincapie was on Celtic’s radar only days after Ange Postecoglou took over as Neil Lennon’s successor in June last year.

The 19-year-old stopper was rated at £3.5million by Argentinian top-flight club Talleres de Cordoba, as CQN reported at the time.

Postecoglou was looking to restructure the middle of the Hoops rearguard with Kristoffer Ajer heading for the exit, Christopher Jullien out with a knee injury and Shane Duffy already returned to Brighton after his disastrous loan spell at his boyhood favourites.

ON THE BALL…former Celtic target Piero Hincapie is a wanted man.

Hincapie, a left-sided back-four operator, was on the wanted list, but, instead, was lured to Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen.

Celtic’s new boss immediately switched his interest to Swedish international Carl Starfelt and pushed through a £4.2million deal with Rubin Kazan just two days before the Premiership kick-off against Hearts at Tynecastle on July 31.

Hincapie, who has already been capped 24 times and played in all three of his nation’s appearances in Qatar, is back in the transfer news – with his value over 18 months soaring  to a whopping £25million.

The skyrocketing price tag, though, has not put off London rivals Arsenal and Spurs who are ready to battle for his signature in next month’s transfer window.

The versatile youngster, who is an accomplished left-back, is also wanted by Serie A quartet AC Milan, Inter Milan, Napoli and Roma, according to Italian sports outlet outlet Calcio Mercato.

Celtic may have missed out with Hincapie, but they returned to Argentina in June to splash £3.75million on left-sided defender Alexandro Bernabei from Lanus.

It remains to be seen how the summer acquistion’s value fares in the second half of his debut campaign at the champions.

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