CELTIC manager Brendan Rodgers last night refused to rule out a sensational move to sign Patrick Roberts on a permanent deal.
And the winger, who will return to Manchester City when his 18 month load deal, admitted he has LOVED his time in Glasgow and he too could see a way for him to extend his stay.
Roberts, 20, cost City £12m last summer when he moved from Fulham and while they would struggle to recoup that kind of money for the Englishman, their fee might well be out of Rodgers’s price range.
Asked about the possibility of Roberts being at Parkhead next season, Rodgers said: “I wouldn’t say no chance. Again, he’s a young player that loves it here.
"He’s a Manchester City player and the agreement was 18 months. He’ll go back and he’ll want to fight to see if he can get into the Manchester City squad.
“They are one of superpowers now in terms of finance and squads in the game, so I’m sure he wants to go in and work with Pep Guardiola for a bit and see how all of that works out.
“And then over the course of pre-season, they’ll decide what happens. Is he going to stay and be around the squad, or does he need to go out on loan again. If he does, I’m sure this will be a really attractive option to him.
“It’ll just depend. Initially for the qualifiers, I doubt he’d be here.”
Rodgers dismissed the idea that any move for Roberts would have to be a loan deal.
He said: “No. He’s a very gifted and talented player. There is a long way to go before we would know what is happening on that front.
“He’s only spent six months at City before he’s come up here. This has been an amazing loan for him with the experience he has gained.
“He has become a winner here. He has become a man. He’ll go back thoroughly prepared to fight for a place in their squad. But if it’s not to be or his situations changes, I’m sure we’d be a great option for him.”
Roberts himself admitted that he did not know where he would be playing his football next season, which meant he couldn’t say that a prolonged stay at Celtic Park was not a possibility.
He said: “I have enjoyed my time, I can’t say I haven’t. I have enjoyed every minute of playing on the pitch at Celtic Park and for the club.
"Listen, never say never or anything– but like I said, I will get to that when I get to it. I just have to think about the games we have ahead now.
“I have no idea what is going to happen. Football is a crazy game, I don’t know.
"I have always thought the time now, what I am doing in an hour’s time, what I am eating for lunch. I do not think what I am doing next year. I will come to that when I come to that.”