BRENDAN RODGERS is on the brink of signing American defender Manny Perez on January 1.

The 19-year-old right-back has impressed the Celtic boss during recent trials and the Hoops expect to get the deal done once a work permit for the player is confirmed.

Perez currently plays for North Carolina State University and has represented the US at Under-20 level.

He has spent the last couple of weeks at Lennoxtown and is eager to pledge his future to the champions.

Perez was named Player of the Year in the US Soccer Development Academy and is highly rated after coming through the ranks of college football.

North Carolina State University Head Coach George Kiefer said: “Manny is a terrific kid and has all the attributes required to have a big career in the game.

“He deserved his call-up to the US Under-20s side and I believe he impressed there, too.”

Rodgers has been looking for a long-term replacement for 32-year-old Sweden international Mikael Lustig who is coming out of contract at the end of the season although the Hoops have a 12-month option on his deal.

Anthony Ralston started his first game of the season last night and scored the opening goal in the 3-0 win over Motherwell.

Costa Rican World Cup defender Cristian Gamboa has been used sparingly over the past two years after arriving in a £1.2million switch from West Brom in August 2016.

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