Juarez signs for Bhoys

Mexico international Efrain Juarez has agreed a four-year contract with Celtic and met up with his new team-mates in the United States today.

The 22-year-old will undergo a medical as Celtic officials finalise the documentation surrounding his transfer from Pumas.

The versatile player, who represented his country during the World Cup, has already been granted a work permit by the UK Government.

Juarez will become Neil Lennon's fifth summer signing when he completes the formalities of his move, following the captures of full-backs Charlie Mulgrew and Cha Du-Ri, midfielder Joe Ledley and striker Daryl Murphy.

The transfer was reported to be costing Celtic up to £4m but manager Lennon has previously revealed that the club are not paying “massive money” for the player.

Juarez featured at full-back during three of his country’s four games at the World Cup, but he can also play in a holding midfield role.

He spent several years at Barcelona as a teenager after helping Mexico win the Under-17 World Cup, but failed to break into the first team and returned to his homeland.

However, he quickly flourished at Pumas and was part of the Mexico team that won the CONCACAF Gold Cup last year.

Lennon spoke enthusiastically about his prospective signing earlier in the week.

“He’s got great energy, is really comfortable on the ball and works really hard off the ball,” Lennon said.

“He’s a very fit lad and I think his style will suit us. He’s a hardy little guy as well – he can put his foot in.

“I saw Juarez playing against England at Wembley before the World Cup and just kept an eye on him.

“I thought he looked decent there and in the World Cup and, when the opportunity came up, we watched him again and again and asked if he would fit in to what we wanted to do here. We all agreed that he would.”

Celtic arrived in Washington state today ahead of the third match of their North American tour, against Seattle Sounders tomorrow night.

Celtic followed their opening loss against Philadelphia Union with a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United in Toronto last night, but Lennon was satisfied with their display.

Georgios Samaras cancelled out Dimitar Berbatov’s opener with a second-half penalty before United youngsters Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley netted late goals.

Lennon said: “I thought the level of performance was excellent.

“There was a lot of good football played out there and the players enjoyed the atmosphere and the experience.

“The second goal came probably after our best spell in the game.

“I was really pleased with the response of the players, particularly in the second half. Samaras made a difference when he came on.”

Lennon added: “There were a lot of substitutions near the end as people like Shaun Maloney have not played for a long time.

“Joe Ledley was starting to feel a bit tired. In the first half against United he was tremendous.”

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