Exclusive: Celtic were keen on Gideon Mensah but Salzburg left-back never had choice to join Bhoys

Celtic's new interim manager Neil Lennon is unveiled at Celtic Park on February 27, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Reports last week incorrectly claimed that Mensah would decide between Celtic and Zulte Waragem.

Gideon Mensah (RB Salzburg) looks on during the pre-season friendly match between RB Salzburg and Real Madrid at Red Bull Arena on August 07, 2019 in Salzburg, Austria.

Celtic were 'very interested' in signing the Red Bull Salzburg left-back Gideon Mensah this summer, a source close to the player has told HITC Sport.

But contrary to reports that emerged last week, while conversations did take place between Celtic and Mensah's representatives, there was never a situation where the player was presented with a choice between the Bhoys and Zulte Waragem - the club to which he has since moved on loan.

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The Ghanaian caught the eye in Salzburg's pre-season friendly defeat against Real Madrid at the start of August, attracting attention from a string of clubs across Europe - including Barcelona B.

 

But the interest shown by some of those was more concrete than others, and Celtic were out of the equation by the time a decision was made for Mensah to join Zulte - who made eye-catching close-season signings such as Saido Berahino (Stoke) and Cameron Humphreys (Manchester City) - due to 'footballing reasons'.

Celtic had already recruited one left-back, Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo, by the time they were linked with Mensah and added another one, Greg Taylor, late on deadline day.

Boli Bolingoli of Celtic FC in action  during the UEFA Champions League 2019

But the 21-year-old could have proved a useful alternative, had the Bhoys decided to pursue their interest further. "He's quality," our source explains. "Put it this way, he's possibly going to be one of the best left-backs in Europe.

"He's very quick. He can score goals. He's got a good cross on him. He's a player, but he's one for the future and that, most importantly, is why he is not in a rush. He'll take every step as it comes."

And the door is by no means closed on a future move to Celtic Park. "In a year's time he'll see how everything is," the source adds. "Because remember he's still contracted to Red Bull Salzburg (until 2024).

"We'll see what happens and he'll take it from there. But Celtic's a big club and it's one that he'd definitely be interested in, in the future. No doubt about that."

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