A trying week for Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers brightened a little with highly-regarded Australian teenager Daniel Arzani completing a two-year loan deal from Manchester City.
The Iran-born 19-year-old attacking midfielder was the youngest ever member of an Australia squad for a World Cup finals and played in all three of their group matches in Russia.
Arzani — who put down his talent to playing street football in his birthplace of Khorramabad — moved from Melbourne City to sister club Manchester City on England’s transfer deadline day earlier this month.
However, it had been expected he would be sent out on loan — like City did the same with his compatriot Aaron Mooy in 2016 who eventually ended up signing permanently with Huddersfield Town — to give him the chance of regular first-team football.
“The idea was put to me to come to Celtic and work with Brendan Rodgers, and it was something I was very interested in doing, and when it became a reality, I was very excited,” he told the Celtic website.
“I’ve had a couple of chats with the manager, more about when I’m coming and when I’ll get started, but I’ll have more chats with him after I settle into the club.
“But, for me, it’s about coming here, doing the best that I can and helping the club as much as possible.”
Arzani — who joins a side reeling from successive defeats including a costly elimination by AEK Athens from the Champions League — says a chat with international team-mate Tom Rogic, who signed a new five-year contract with Celtic last season, helped persuade him to make the move.
“I gave Tom a call and had a chat with him about the club and everything was positive,” Arzani said.
“Basically he said to me that if it wasn’t so good, he wouldn’t have signed an extension to stay at Celtic Park.
“The scenes at the (home) games are unbelievable, and I love it when the crowd gets behind me.
“I’m an attacking player. I love to take players on and hopefully, I can bring some of that to the team.”