Alexandro Bernabei: Left-back joins Celtic from Argentine club Lanus

Celtic signing Alexandro Bernabei (left)
Alexandro Bernabei (left) spoke through an interpreter

Celtic have completed the signing of left-back Alexandro Bernabei from Atletico Lanus on a five-year deal.

The 21-year-old Argentine has been capped at under-23 level and scored five goals in 88 games for the side sitting 20th in the Primera Division.

The transfer is subject to international clearance, with no fee disclosed.

Bernabei said he "didn't need to speak to anyone" for advice about moving after hearing of Celtic's interest.

"If the transfer was going to happen, I had already made up my mind that I was going to come regardless," he said through an interpreter.

"It was a dream of mine to come and play in Europe. It's happened that I have come to a big club, so I didn't think twice. Family and friends were not an issue for me."

The first player from Argentina to sign for Celtic, for whom Lanus say they have negotiated a 10% share of any future sale, was particularly looking forward to playing in the "really huge" Champions League.

"Coming from a small town, Correa in Argentina, it is just a dream come true," he said.

Bernabei told Celtic fans that they will see a player who is "aggressive, who has a lot of personality and who always gives his best".

"The style of play, aggressive and very attacking, is something I like and also I do well in that style," he said. "I am going to learn a lot. It is going to make me grow a lot."

Meanwhile, Israel midfielder Nir Bitton has signed a two-year contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv, who say there is an extension option, in his homeland's top flight after his summer release by Celtic.

The 30-year-old had joined the Glasgow club from Maccabi's Israeli Premier League rivals, Ashdod, in 2013 before making more 274 appearances and helping Celtic win 18 trophies. Maccabi finished third last season.

'Potential to take this step - and steps beyond'

Alexandro Bernabei celebrates scoring for Lanus
Alexandro Bernabei helped Lanus finish 10th last season in the Argentine top flight

BBC South American football correspondent Tim Vickery

This is the first Argentine to sign for Celtic and hopefully it will work out better than a certain high-profile Brazilian. I was in London recently and someone presented me with a photo of Rafael Scheidt, who I thought would be a good signing and it didn't turn out that way.

Experience has taught me to be a little more cautious and he doesn't have a great deal behind him, partly down to the pandemic - he had just got into the team at Lanus and then Argentine football shut down for a considerable time.

What does he bring to Ange Postecoglou's team? A quick little left-back. He's not going to defend like Danny McGrain, that's not his game.

What he does give you is terrific pace, with a lovely left foot, which can be very useful for set-pieces. I think there is an eye for a goal in him as well and a player who can get in at the far post and open up the pitch.

What I didn't factor in with Rafael Scheidt, who was in the Brazil team at the time, was how much higher up the field he would be expected to defend with Celtic.

He will have to adapt to extra physicality. The Argentine league is physical, but you look at the players and they are smaller than most of the players he will face in Scotland, but what I've seen leads me to the conclusion that he has the potential to take this step and maybe steps beyond as well.

The Champions League puts him in the spotlight. If Celtic weren't there, I don't think he would be there and perhaps there wouldn't be the finance either.

I was surprised to hear that this was the first Argentine to sign for Celtic and, if he succeeds, he won't be the last.

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