Confirmed: Celtic to make move for serial-winning defender

By Alex Stevens

Brendan Rodgers has admitted that Celtic are keen on signing former Liverpool defender Kolo Toure.

Football Insider reported last week that the Hoops were weighing up a move for the veteran centre-back as a solution to a potential Champions League centre-half crisis.

Toure was released by Liverpool last month to bring to an end his three-year spell at Anfield, which culminated in his appearance in the Europa League final defeat to Sevilla.

Rodgers has admitted that central defence is an area needing to be addressed and revealed that Toure is on his target list.

“We will see,” the new Celtic manager said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun. “Kolo is a good guy. He’s 35 but is one of those players who is super fit.

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“He trains every day and he has a wonderful personality, so we will see. Kolo was an African Nations winner and a player for big games.

“We played away at Real Madrid for Liverpool and he was man of the match. In the Europa League Final in May, he was fantastic.

“In the games he played for me at Liverpool, he gained huge respect from the players.

“He was one of the Invincibles and played more games in that Arsenal team than anybody. He also played for Manchester City.”

Injured pair Jozo Simunovic and Dedryck Boyata are likely to be unavailable for the Champions League qualifying rounds, while Charlie Mulgrew is still in contract talks with his future at the club in serious doubt.

Toure, who won the Premier League title at Arsenal in 2004 and at Manchester City eight years later, is available on a free transfer.

Despite his pedigree, Rodgers’ interest in the Ivory Coast centre-back is a surprise given that he turns 36 next season and his wage demands are likely to be substantial after playing for three Premier League big hitters.

Toure made 26 appearances for Liverpool in the 2015-16 season as they lost the finals of the League Cup and Europe League.

The veteran deputised for the suspended Mamadou Sakho and performed admirably as Liverpool were beaten 3-1 by Sevilla in the Europa League final in Basel.

In other Celtic news, the Scottish giants have been told to increase their offer for a key Premier League target.