Celtic have pulled off arguably the transfer coup of the summer, ahead of the coming Ladbrokes Premiership campaign. Having won the Premier League with Arsenal and Man City, and led Ivory Coast to a first Africa Cup of Nations crown for 23 years last summer, Kolo Toure is a player of incredible talent.
Here’s why the 35-year-old is set to be the new fans’ favourite at Parkhead.
He’s a colossus in defence
He may not quite boast the imposing physique of brother Yaya Toure, but the Hoops’ new arrival is a strong yet cultured defender with a superb ability at reading the game.
Celtic captain Scott Brown is already a fan, deeming the former Arsenal man “aggressive in the air and good on the ball”, and the centre-back’s composed passing will certainly help the Hoops build attacks from the back.
He can also offer a more direct threat coming forward, as last season’s cheeky headed goal at Aston Villa proved, though it’s in defence where his aerial prowess will be most valuable – helping to curb the threat of away sides at Celtic Park whose biggest attacking weapon is often dead-ball situations.
His experience is a huge asset
With the Hoops looking to push on in Europe following victory over Lincoln Red Imps, the continental pedigree of a player who has reached Champions League and Europa League finals will surely be beneficial to Rodgers’ men.
Always a man for the big occasion, he’s netted the only goal of Arsenal’s Champions League semi-final triumph against Villarreal in 2006, scored in the 2010 World Cup, and produced some masterful displays to help Manchester City clinch a Premier League title in unforgettable circumstances in 2011-12.
With the Old Firm giants boasting a number of talented but inexperienced defenders – including Saidy Janko, Jozo Simunovic and Kieran Tierney – Toure’s wisdom and cool head may be as important as his technical ability, when it comes to the season’s biggest games.
He can build from the back
While it would be a stretch to describe Toure as a regular source of assists, he can – and does – play a crucial role in helping teams to build attacks from the back, with slick, unhurried passing and an ability to ping the ball into midfield with impressive accuracy.
With the Bhoys typically playing an attacking, fast-paced game based largely on passing football, Toure’s skill set suggests he’ll be an ideal fit for the team’s time-honoured style. And with Brendan Rodgers having relied on Kolo to play those cultured balls at Anfield, he’ll have no trouble picking up where he left off in Glasgow.
Celtic are 1/4 to win the Ladbrokes Premiership, but the Hoops’ focus right now will be on Wednesday night’s Champions League tie against Astana – with 19/10 for Rodgers’ charges to taste victory in Kazakhstan.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing