05 October 2020 22:41
Uruguay left back Diego Laxalt last night admitted he would love to make his Celtic debut against Rangers next week after sealing a season-long loan from AC Milan. Laxalt, who moved to Milan from their Serie A rivals Genoa in a £12.5m transfer in 2018, was the only arrival at Parkhead before the close of the summer transfer window yesterday. The 24-times capped 27-year-old, who can also play on the wing, joins fellow new signings Shane Duffy and Mohamed Elyounoussi, who are also on loan, as well as Albian Ajeti, Vasilis Barkas and David Turnbull in the East End of Glasgow. Neil Lennon was keen to add to his options on the left side of the park with Boli Bolingoli, who had been disciplined after breaking coronavirus protocols, departing for Turkish club Istanbul Basaksehir last month. The Scottish champions, who are bidding to win 10-In-A-Row in the 2020/21 campaign, take on their city rivals in the first Premiership game after the international break on Saturday week and the defender is keen to be involved.
"I heard rumours a few days ago but I remained calm about it," said Laxalt. "Then things happened in the last 24 hours and I was very happy to come to Celtic. It's a great club and I can't wait to get started. "I learned that Rangers is the next match. I cannot wait to play for Celtic in any match.
It will be a special game for me because my club is AC Milan but I will need to focus on the game. "All I am thinking of is Celtic right. That's where all my concentration is. I want to help Celtic now. I am not at AC Milan and all my focus is on doing the best for the club." Join thousands of fans who have signed up to our Celtic newsletter. Subscribe Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email Diego Laxalt is desperate to start making memories at Celtic and he reckons there's no better way to start than getting off to a flyer against Rangers. The on loan AC Milan star was doing a quick Google search to find out of there had been any other Uruguayan players who'd been at Parkhead when he stumbled across the fixture list. As debuts go, it's not a bad one. Laxalt insists he has no fears about jumping straight in at the deep end in the Old Firm derby a week on Saturday though. It's not in his nature. This is a player who went from his hometown in Montevideo to Serie A as a youngster and didn't blink when he was being ordered to tee up the likes of Luis Suarez with his national team or Zlatan Ibrahimovic with Milan. (Image: SNS Group) Laxalt is up for his next challenge and is already counting down to taking on the Ibrox men. He said: "I know there's no game this weekend but I'm going to start training and I can't wait to meet my new team-mates. "And for me, when we're standing in the tunnel and then out on the field, that's when we start building up memories and building as a team. "I learned that Rangers is the next match and I cannot wait to play for Celtic in any match. "That game has a big history. I know the clubs are rivals on the field. "I am looking forward to playing that game and I am looking forward to having a result." Laxalt has pitched up at Parkhead with major pedigree. He's made nearly 200 appearances in the Italian top flight with spells at Inter Milan, Torino, Genoa – where he teamed up with Hoops ace Olivier Ntcham – before is £13m move to Milan. He's rubbed shoulders with the best and he reckons some of the magic has worn off. And having chewed the ear of Suarez when the striker was at Liverpool he reckons he's tailor made for the fierce football in the UK. Laxalt said: "Eveything happened so fast so I didn't get a chance to talk to them, but I know guys like Suarez and Zlatan have played here and I'll be hoping to speak to them soon. "I used to talk to Luis when he was at Liverpool and he always spoke very highly of British football. "I'm looking forward to experiencing it for myself. "My game is all about intensity so I am hoping it will be suited well for Scotland. "These guys are all big personalities and it was an honour to play with them. "They always ask for the ball in any situation and I learned so much from. "They taught me off the pitch but also off it. I owe them a lot." (Image: Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images) Laxalt was a rising star when Inter brought him over from South American outfit Defensor Sporting in his homeland. But it was his rave reviews at the World Cup in Russia in 2018 than made him one of the most in demand wing backs in Europe. A hot of English sides were int he running to land him, with Everton and West Ham turned down after Russia and then Newcastle and Bournemouth were in the hunt a year later when he impressed in his first season at the San Siro. Laxalt is bringing his big game experience to Glasgow. He said: "The World Cup was a big stage and it was a unique and good experience for me. "Each game helped me develop as a player and I will keep trying to do that. "I will honestly give everything in every game and will help my team-mates and do it for the fans." Laxalt will also solve Neil Lennon's wing back dilemma as the 27-year-old is a natural in the role, despite being played as a full back and winger in his career. He said: "I have been playing in the last few years as a left-back and I always like to leave everything on the pitch. "My main characteristics are my intensity and my pace. "I will do everything to help my team-mates and get the results we want." Laxalt reckons he'll fit right in at Celtic and he's proud to fly his national flag as well as wearing the green and white hoops. He said: "I couldn't think of any other Uruguayan player who has played for Celtic, so I realise I'm the first one. I'm extremely happy about that and I'm a player who likes to leave everything on the pitch when I'm playing. (Image: Getty Images) "I'm very happy. I love the colours and I can't wait to wear the strip in a match." Laxalt might not speak the lingo yet but he's looking forward to bumping in to a friendly face with Ntcham in the dressing room. He said: "I played with Olivier for two years in Genoa and I was happy to learn he is here. "I can't wait to see him and play with him again. He is a great player and a great person." Ntcham was happy to vouch for his old Serie A pal as well. He said: "It's great that Diego has joined Celtic because he's a very good player and a very good guy. "He's a really quick player, really sharp and is very motivated. He'll be a good player for Celtic because he's got the right mentality and always works hard for the team." The 27-year-old flew into Glasgow to complete a season-long deal less than three hours before Scotland's midnight transfer deadline. The former Genoa player has been brought in to provide competition for Celtic defender Greg Taylor. Celtic completed a deadline day loan swoop for AC Milan and Uruguay left-back Diego Laxalt Laxalt is able to play anywhere on the left flank and will slot comfortably into Neil Lennon's 3-5-2. The 27-year-old has previously impressed in defence for Gian Piero Gasperini's Genoa, exhibiting impressive pace and work rate. Laxalt has featured over 100 times in Serie A and has also managed 24 caps for Uruguay. He flew into Glasgow to complete a season-long deal less than three hours before deadline The 27-year-old is said to have been brought in to provide competition for Celtic's Greg Taylor In addition, Celtic have sold 20-year-old forward Jack Aitchison to Barnsley. The club's youngest goalscorer, who netted against Motherwell at the age of 16, will be immediately loaned to an English League Two club but has signed a three-year deal with the Yorkshire side. While Aberdeen have re-signed left-back Greg Leigh on a short-term deal following his exit from NAC Breda. Leigh, who has signed until January, had an injury-hit loan spell at Pittodrie last season.