Celtic are close to signing Toulouse defender Christopher Jullien

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…

Celtic are closing in on a deal for Toulouse central defender Christopher Jullien, as reported by The Evening Times.

What’s the story?

Reports from France emerged earlier this week claiming that the Hoops had agreed a fee with the Ligue 1 club for the 26-year-old and Celtic manager Neil Lennon has now confirmed he’s on his way.

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As quoted by The Evening Times, the Hoops boss said on Wednesday evening:

“We are getting close with Jullien, hopefully we can get something sorted in the next day or so.

“We have been tracking him for a while and we like we what we see with him. Negotiations have gone well, so it’s a case of getting the paperwork sorted.

“I like him. He’s a dominant type and very powerful. We are just looking for a bit more pace and power in the team to add a jag to the squad.

“He’s a quality player and he’s had a couple of really good years in the top echelons of French football. Hopefully we can get it over the line – but it’s not done yet.

“If we get it done, we’d look to get him to Austria as soon as possible.”

The paper have reported that the defender could be arriving at Celtic Park for a fee of around €7m (£6.27m), which would make him one of the most expensive signings in the club’s history.

What does he offer Celtic?

Celtic are suffering in the centre-back positions right now after the departures of Dedryck Boyata and Filip Benkovic at the end of last season.

Both of those defenders were the preferred picks of Brendan Rodgers before he left for Leicester City and the duo must be replaced ahead of Celtic’s potential run to the UEFA Champions League group stages.

Lennon has found a functional defensive partnership in Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic, but the only cover available to those two comes in the shape of Jack Hendry and Marvin Compper, both of whom have massively flopped since signing in January 2018.

Jullien is an experienced defender who has been a regular in Ligue 1 over the last three seasons, making 101 league appearances in that time. That would suggest he is more than capable of performing at Scottish Premiership level.

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Physically imposing at 6ft 5in, he’s strong in the air too, winning an average of 4.3 aerial battles per game in the French top-flight last season, the sixth most in the country.

Celtic are getting an accomplished French talent who will immediately compete for first-team places and can become the imposing defensive presence they need in the box next season.

Article title: Celtic are close to signing Toulouse defender Christopher Jullien

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