Celtic desperately need to sign a new right-back this month.
Gregory van der Wiel is reportedly set to leave MLS side Toronto after a training-ground bust-up with manager Greg Vanney – and Celtic simply have to take advantage.
Joining Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2012 from Ajax, 30-year-old van der Wiel was considered one of the best right-backs in European football.
But after 132 appearances for the French giants, van der Wiel’s career has slowly spiralled downwards after short spells in Turkey with Fenerbahce and Italy with Cagliari – who bought the Netherlands international for less than £1million.
He joined MLS side Toronto last season on a free transfer and made 27 appearances for the Canadian outfit in his first season, as Toronto limped to a ninth-placed finish in the Eastern Conference.
Now, ahead of the 2019 campaign which begins in March, American outlet The Athletic have claimed that van der Wiel will be sold by Toronto after a pre-season dispute turned nasty between the right-back and manager Vanney.
Meanwhile, Celtic are in desperate need of a right-back. Mikael Lustig, Cristian Gamboa and Anthony Ralston remain as options, but Lustig and Gamboa are out of contract this summer and Ralston has done little to prove himself.
Celtic have been linked with a whole host of right-backs of late, including Timmy Castagne, Fernando Fonseca and Milad Mohammadi this week. But perhaps they should consider a move for wantaway van der Wiel.
Though he has lost a yard of pace, van der Wiel still boasts plenty of speed and is more than willing to get forward at any given opportunity – which suits Brendan Rodgers’ style of play.
He has plenty of experience at the highest level, with 46 caps for the Netherlands and 80 appearances in the Champions League, Europa League and UEFA Cup. His knowledge of European football would be an enormous boost for Celtic.
Van der Wiel – who was on the losing side in the 2010 World Cup final – is a must-buy for Celtic and it could be likely they get him on the cheap.
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