Thanks in part to Mamadou Sakho’s ban and Martin Skrtel’s decline, Kolo Touré has enjoyed a fantastic resurgence in recent months at Liverpool. The 35-year-old Ivorian has been thrust back into the Reds first team and raised to the occasion during Liverpool’s fine Europa League run, where they made it to the final before being defeated by Sevilla.
Having made 26 appearances last season, it was a surprise to see Jürgen Klopp not retain Touré, with the defender’s contract expiring on June 30th.
The highlight of his time in the Premier League came in the 2003/04 season when he was part of Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ squad, which went through an entire league season without losing a game.
Touré, capped 118 times by the Ivory Coast, spent seven years at Arsenal before a big money move to Manchester City in 2009 and a Bosman transfer to Liverpool in 2013.
New Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is believed to want to sign a central defender in the summer transfer window, with Efe Ambrose potentially going to the Olympics, Jozo Simunovic and Dedryck Boyata both injured, while Charlie Mulgrew has yet to sign a new deal with the Hoops.
I believe Rodgers should make a move for Touré, whom he managed at Liverpool.
With 353 Premier League appearances and 118 caps at international level – along with appearances at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup and seven Africa Cup of Nations tournaments – the Ivorian defender would be a fantastic signing for Celtic.
Touré’s reading of the game and prowess in the air is still of a high level, and he could be a real asset to the Celtic squad. As a Premier League title winner with both Arsenal and Manchester City, he has the right mentality and experience to help the Scottish champions in both their title quest and desire to succeed in Europe.
The veteran’s experience at the highest level would also give younger players in the Celtic squad an ideal role model to learn from.
Back in 2010, David Weir became the oldest-ever winner of the Scottish Football Writers’ Association’s Player of the Year award a day before his 40th birthday. With Touré keen to extend his playing career as long as possible at 35, the former Gunner could perform for years at Celtic in the Scottish Premiership.
Steven Parkhill, Pundit Arena