KOLO Toure is on the verge of becoming Celtic’s ‘wildcard’ signing for their third qualifying round Champions League tie away in Kazakhstan with reports that the 35-year-old centre-back is currently undergoing a medical at Ross Hall.
Toure, brought to Liverpool from Manchester City three years ago by now Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, will be available for the opening leg of the confrontation with FC Astana should he complete an expected one-year deal ahead of Wednesday’s fixture.
The 118-times capped Ivory Coast international, could be pitched straight into the midweek encounter with injuries to Jozo Simunovic and Dedryck Boyata, and the vulnerabilities of Efe Ambrose, leaving Celtic short of a natural partner for Erik Sviatchenko.
Toure’s last appearance in European competition came in the final of May’s Europa League. Despite Jurgen Klopp’s men losing 3-1 to Seville, the veteran produced a gritty display that led to many citing him as the showpiece’s outstanding performer.
The subsequent failure to offer him a new one-year deal surprised many, especially as he made 26 appearances last season as a defensive back-up.
He first moved to England in 2002, then joining Arsenal. He was a member of the club’s ‘Invincibles’ team that did not lose a league game as they snared the title in 2004.
Rogers last week heaped praise on the Ivorian, he said: “He is a fantastic guy, who was brilliant for me. I brought him in as a cover player and he never let the team down.
“He was an African Nations’ winner and definitely a big-game player. We played away in Real Madrid and he was Man of the Match. He was also fantastic in the Europa League final.
“He played for Manchester City and, going back, was one of Arsenal’s Invincibles playing more games in that team than anybody.
“Although he is 35 now, he is one of those guys who is super fit.”