One prime example is Virgil van Dijk, who after spending some time at Celtic Park went on to become one of the Premier League’s and Europe’s biggest stars.
In those appearances, he chipped in with 15 goals and seven assists as well as winning two SPFL titles and one Scottish League Cup.
After leaving in 2015 for a move to Premier League club Southampton, the defender eventually ended up at Liverpool where he has lifted the top-flight title and the Champions League.
Even though Celtic ended their title winning 2021/22 SPFL season with the best defensive record in the top flight, the upcoming summer transfer window could now give Ange Postecoglou the chance to unearth his own version of Van Dijk at Parkhead.
Last week, the agent of Gent defender Joseph Okumu revealed that Celtic have shown an interest in his client.
Having been claimed to have similar attributes on the pitch to Celtic’s former Dutch centre-back by Johan Larsson, the 25-year-old racked up the third-highest number of interceptions (49) and tackles (41) in Gent’s squad this season.
He also had the second-highest average for blocks (0.9) and the third-most clearances per game (3.2) as well.
With Van Dijk racking up the second-highest average for clearances (3.1) and third-highest average for blocks (0.4) per game in Liverpool’s squad during the latest Premier League campaign, it’s easy to see why the comparison between the two defenders has been made.
Praised for his “tremendous” performances in the past, the £4.05m-rated Kenyan could well become Celtic’s next version of Van Dijk if he’s given the chance to show off his clear defensive talent at Parkhead by Postecoglou.
If the Hoops’ apparent interest in Okumu is genuine, then a move for his signature this summer could be a great bit of business. It would give Postecoglou the chance to strengthen his squad ahead of next season and prepare his men for the tough challenges they’ll undoubtedly be facing.