Young defenders with the talent of Virgil van Dijk do not come around often. But, for Celtic, could lightning strike twice?
Seven years after the dominant force of Scottish football snapped up a fresh-faced Dutchman in a bargain £2.5 million deal, another Oranje giant is set to enter free agency. And the fact that Xavier Mbuyamba has been labelled the ‘new Virgil van Dijk’ will have clubs all over Europe breaking their necks to have a look at him.
That much is guaranteed, even in an uncertain market.
According to Sport, the 6ft 5ins powerhouse will be allowed to leave Barcelona for absolutely nothing this summer. The Catalan kings have decided against extending a contract which is due to expire in July.
It is hard to believe then, with Barca obviously so keen to cut ties, that the former MVV Maastricht starlet was seen as one for the future at the Camp Nou just last year, when the Spanish giants beat so many rival suitors to his sought-after signature.
Celtic were one of those left disappointed when Mbuyamba donned the iconic blue and red stripes, according to Voetbal International.
Considering that Kristoffer Ajer appears to have one foot and a few toes out the door, with the Norwegian’s agent claiming that his time at the Hoops has come to an end (Record), Mbuyamba’s new-found availability is unlikely to pass Celtic by.
A fearsome physical presence with technical gifts which bely his sheer size, that ‘new Van Dijk’ nickname might not be a million miles wide of the mark.