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Celtic close in on signing of Chelsea wonderkid Charly Musonda after six-month hunt for new No.10

Charly Musonda (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Charly Musonda (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

BRENDAN RODGERS last night welcomed new signing Kundai Benyu into the fold as Celtic stepped up their pursuit of Chelsea’s Charly Musonda.

Benyu, a 19-year-old midfielder, joined up with the Hoops squad in their pre-season training camp in Austria ahead of the friendly against Rapid Vienna.

And, the manager insisted, there would be more signings to come ahead of the start of the Champions League qualifying campaign.

“That is Kundai and Jonny Hayes with us now, but I still want to add to the squad,” he said.

“We have another one, a player of substantial pedigree and quality, who we hope can get in very soon.

‘He is young but he is a big talent who has got experience.

“If we can close the deal out, it will be for good money. He is what you would call a number 10.

“We have players who can play there, but it’s about getting pace and power and also another one that can make the last pass.

“I felt that was something from last season that I wanted to add. We are hopeful we can get it done.

“It has been six months in the making, and Celtic have been great in trying to make it happen.

“There’s no timescale or percentage on it. When it’s done, it’s done.”

It is understood that player is Musonda, a Belgian Under-21 internationalist with a big reputation as a playmaker.

Celtic have been working hard to find a way to land him, either on loan or as a buy, with the possibility for Chelsea to buy back deal.

Musonda is a dynamic, attacking player with the ability to unlock defences.

He has won all the honours at youth level and has already been out on loan in La Liga with Seville-based club, at Real Betis.

He would be sure to excite supporters, who have been hungry for news of new additions ahead of the coming campaign.

“The make-up of my teams has always been this way,” the Celtic manager continued.

“Look at Liverpool with Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez and Coutinho.

“I am talking about bright, clever players who can disorganise defenders.

“They can attack, but also need to have the profile to press too.

“My main aim is quality. We don’t need numbers.”

The Celtic boss said he would not shy away from breaking the club’s £6-million record transfer fee if need be.

That’s what Martin O’Neill forked out to buy Chrish Sutton from Chelsea in 2000 and John Hartson from Coventry City in 2001.

But Rodgers added that the more valuable deals were, the more things there were to be taken into consideration.

“I would do it on the right player. It depends on the availability,” he said.

“I’m not in the market to just spend money because someone is a name. They have to fit in with what we are doing.

“The market down south is greater than it’s ever been, purely because there are so many players. Not just British but international players – and they all can’t play every week.

“But that doesn’t stop us looking in other parts of the world too.”

Benyu, meanwhile, told how the news of Brendan Rodgers’ interest in him broke as he was watching the Hoops clinch their Invincible Treble.

“I was in my friend’s house, watching the Scottish Cup Final, when my agent called me and told me Celtic were interested,” said Benyu.

“I was speechless and couldn’t believe it And from then on, it all went pretty quickly.

“After I got that phone call – it was about 60 to 70 minutes in – I was more or less supporting Celtic in the Cup Final.

“So I was buzzing when they got that late goal – which was a very good goal.”