He is one of Celtic’s newest signings but Manny Perez’ route to Celtic Park was a long and winding road where it never always looked a sure thing.
We reported back in late December a deal for the young American right back was all but sealed but it took until the final day of the January transfer window before the player was announced as a new Celtic signing.
Perez who joined alongside fellow American Andre Gutman has gone straight back out on-loan to continue his development elsewhere with a view to sliding into the Celtic developmental side within the next year.
Asked about the process of becoming a Celtic player, Perez admitted it was anything but smooth.
“It was a long process.” Perez told ASN.
“There was a lot to think about and I am thankful for the opportunity Celtic has given me – as well as my hometown club, North Carolina FC to given a chance to develop with them.
But overall, I think it was the right move. It’s a great move to develop young players and play young players. My goal has always been to play in Europe so it wasn’t an opportunity I could pass on.
“Everyone in my family and coaches at States was helping push me to play with them. It all started when I was with the U-18 national team.
“We had a couple of camps in Spain and Portugal and Germany. Then two summers ago that is when Celtic first reached out to me. They saw me in Spain. I did really well and we just kept in communication.”
Perez, 19, is currently playing with North Carolina as he looks to improve and fulfil his massive potential over the next few years.
Celtic currently have Jeremy Toljan on loan from Dortmund for the right back position but with Lustig’s contract running down and Jeremy not a stick on to stay at the club the player could be recalled as early as the summer for Brendan Rodgers to run the rule over the American.