As Gerrard heads to Al-Ettifaq
Celtic cash in as Jota moves to Saudi in £25m deal
Celtic have cashed in on Portuguese star Jota who has joined Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad in a remarkable £25m deal.
The winger was a noted absentee when the champions reported for pre-season training at Lennoxtown yesterday under returning boss Brendan Rodgers – he had flown to Dubai to undergo a medical before finalising his big-money move.
A three-year deal has been agreed which is set to make the 24-year-old £10m a year, tax-free, with his new team-mates including former Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.
The former Benfica wide man leaves Parkhead just 12 months after penning a five-year contract with the Hoops after a successful loan spell.
Celtic made his move permanent last summer by meeting Benfica’s £6.4m transfer fee, with the Portuguese club due a 30 per cent cut of Celtic’s profit courtesy of a sell-on clause.
A Celtic statement said: “After two seasons with the club, one on loan from Benfica and one on a full contract, Portuguese winger, Jota has left Celtic to join Saudi Arabian club, Al-Ittihad.
“In his time in the Hoops, Jota won two league titles as well as picking up winner’s medals in both the Scottish and League Cups.
“Everyone at Celtic Football Club wishes Jota success in his future career.”
The move represents a great piece of business by Celtic, with Rodgers looking to have access to the funds to strengthen his squad ahead of the new domestic season and upcoming Champions League campaign.
Former Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is also heading to Saudi Arabia to pursue his career.
Gerrard, who has been looking for a new job since being sacked by Aston Villa in October, has been appointed as the new boss of cash-rich Al-Ettifaq, like Al-Aittihad one of the clubs to have been taken over by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
The ex-Liverpool skipper was thought to be on £5m a year at Villa, with his new salary dwarfing that figure.
A club statement said: “Al- Ettifaq Club has officially completed the contract with English coach Steven Gerrard, according to which he will assume the position of coach of the first football team at Al-Ettifaq club until 2025.”