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Dublin: 4°C Saturday 10 April 2021

Celtic beat Spurs and West Ham to signing of talented Ipswich teenager

Spurs invited Kundai Benyu to be part of their NextGen Series squad in Amsterdam last summer, but he’s now off to Parkhead.

CELTIC HAVE CONFIRMED the signing of 19-year-old midfielder Kundai Benyu from Ipswich on a four-year deal.

The box-to-box Englishman first broke into Ipswich’s first team at the age of 16, and consistently impressed on loan at Aldershot Town last season, scoring five goals on their path to the Conference playoffs.

His performances under Gary Waddock attracted scouts from Tottenham and Aston Villa as well as Celtic, though Tottenham had been openly monitoring his progress for some time prior, and even invited him to be part of their NextGen Series squad in Amsterdam last summer. West Ham were also understood to be interested in recruiting Benyu, with the Camden-born midfielder’s Ipswich contract expiring this summer.

When talks regarding a renewal at Ipswich broke down, however, it was Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic who stole a march on all three English clubs. The Scottish champions will pay Ipswich compensation due to Benyu being under the age of 24.

Benyu was initially sent out on loan by Ipswich last December having fallen out with Mick McCarthy, later admitting his own attitude was the issue and patching things up with the manager of his parent club. Ipswich actually had an option to extend his deal by a further 12 months, and Benyu expressed his desire to remain at the club only last month, but instead, he’s off to Glasgow.

He told Celtic’s official club website: “I’m absolutely delighted to be joining Celtic. It’s a massive honour to sign for the Scottish champions and one of the world’s truly great clubs.

“It’s also a great opportunity for me to continue to develop as a footballer under Brendan Rodgers.

“I’m looking forward to meeting up with my new Celtic team-mates. I know there’s a lot of hard work ahead of me but I am ready for this, I’m looking forward to the challenge and I can’t wait to get started.”

Earlier today, Brendan Rodgers described the 19-year-old as “highly talented and gifted” when speaking from the club’s pre-season tour of Austria.

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