Celtic tipped to complete deal for Benfica defender

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The race to become Scottish champions next year is already very much underway.

While Rangers have aspirations of kicking on next term and providing viable competition, the target at Parkhead is much more ambitious.

Coming away as Champions next term will mean that Celtic have made in 10 titles in a row - something that their rivals will certainly find difficult to stomach.

However if the Bhoys are to do that then they'll need to make sure that they make a success of the summer's transfer market.

Based on the latest reports, it seems that one move could be gathering pace.

Last week reports emerged that Celtic were interested in a move for Benfica defender Braniar Kalaica.

The 22-year-old is also linked with Watford and Leeds in a deal that could come at a bargain price.

Transfermarkt value the player at just £608,000, and while he's highly rated by Benfica, he could be allowed to leave due to the lack of imminent first team opportunities on offer.

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One man who is backing a move for Kalaica is Noel Whelan who has suggested that he could be an ideal replacement for Kristoffer Ajer.

Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan said: “You always need to improve and strengthen.

“We do not know what is happening with Ajer and whether he is going to Leicester but this might be a replacement that is needed.

“Benfica are one of the top clubs in Europe and they always seem to have talented players coming through their ranks.

“6 foot 4, young – he fits the bill exactly for Celtic and it will be around the right asking price as well.

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“I am not surprised Neil Lennon is looking for central defenders. They need to strengthen.”

GIVEMESPORT'S Phil Spencer says...

This could certainly be a shrewd move.

While first team opportunities are limited with Benfica, Braniar Kalaica is certainly a talented individual who has a bright future ahead of him.

Celtic have a great track record of signing promising young talent from around the world and developing them into top players, and so this could be an ideal move.

With a discounted move potentially on the cards, it could be ideal for the club who might need some defensive reinforcements.

If Kristoffer Ajer moves on then they'll certainly need another face, and Kalaica could be the perfect man to fill that void.

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