With Ange Postecoglou nearing his move to Celtic, the Bhoys can finally begin ramping up their efforts in the transfer market.
This is a transition period for the Hoops but there will be no excuses if they aren’t ready in time for the new season at Parkhead.
One player who will be relishing the new campaign getting underway is Christopher Jullien.
The Frenchman has been missing with an injury since late December but still faces a lengthy period away from the pitch.
The central defender has barely been seen in 2021 but did make a cheeky appearance during the unveiling of the new Celtic jersey.
As the Hoops surrendered their grasp on the Premiership and then lost to Rangers in the Scottish Cup, it was a barrage of defensive mistakes that cost them.
Jullien has been caught out at times in the famous green and white but a combination of the centre-back and Kristoffer Ajer would have been beneficial.
If there is one area that Celtic need to strengthen this summer it’s at the back. Ajer looks as though he’s heading to the Premier League while it remains to be seen how much football Jullien will play at the beginning of the new campaign.
Fortunately, Dominic McKay and co have recognised the need to bolster their options.
According to Aftonbladet the Bhoys are interested in signing Joseph Okumu from Swedish side Elfsborg.
They face competition from Rangers for his signature but it’s the Hoops who need him more when you consider their defensive struggles of 2020/21. In the league, they conceded 16 more goals than their fierce rivals for instance.
Okumu would not only lend a helping hand in their conquest to win back the Premiership but they could also land a player with similar traits and characteristics to Jullien.
Standing at 6 foot 4, the Kenyan is just an inch shorter but because of their height, they both reign supreme in the air. For context, Jullien won 5.1 aerial duels per game in the 2020/21 campaign.
Okumu has tried to model his game on the likes of David Luiz and Thiago Silva which lends itself to a strong passing ability. The 24-year-old may have some of the classic defensive qualities like heading the ball away from danger but his passing is also eye-catching, an area that Jullien shines in.
With the injured Celtic star completing over 83% of his passes last term, the recruitment team will need to find someone who is equally adept with the ball at their feet.
Described as “something special” by Real Monarchs manager Dan Egner after he signed in America, the centre-back has caught the eye for a while.
Though, if we’re looking at areas he can upgrade on Jullien, it’s in the pace department. Okumu was named as the fastest player in the Swedish top-flight after clocking a speed of 34.58 km/h.
That’s an incredibly useful skill for a defender as it gives them a huge advantage when making a recovery run.
Elfsborg sporting director Stefan Andreasson is another to have added to the plaudits, saying: “We understood that this was a very good player, then he showed maybe the whole of Sweden last year, and also Europe. It is clear that Okumu is one of the best.”
He continued; “I have said it once before, that he is the best centre-back that has ever been in the Allsvenskan – you can say that sometimes.”
Okumu is a bullish defender, one who can combine pace and power to dominate opponents; he’d be a valuable addition to the ranks at Paradise.