Celtic have been linked with a move for Marvin Compper, currently plying his trade with RB Leipzig, with reports the defender is due to undergo a medical today.
Conflicting reports have come out of the Red Bull Arena in the past week.
Sporting director Ralph Rangnick was said to be happy for Compper to seek gametime elsewhere come January, but head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl insisted that he didn’t want to lose Compper next month because of Leipzig’s injury concerns. However, it is understood that Hasenhuttl may be happy for the 32-year-old to leave Leipzig for a fee of arouond £900,000.
Without further ado, here are four things Celtic fans should know about Marvin Compper...
He has bags of top flight experience
Starting his career at Borussia Monchengladbach, Compper played under current Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes, making 31 appearances before joining 1899 Hoffenheim in January 2008.
Compper made several appearances for Hoffenheim after helping them achieve promotion to the Bundesliga from the German second tier in 2008.
The Tubingen-born defender played regularly, making more than 30 appearances in three out of his four seasons at the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena.
He gained experience of the Italian top flight, joining Serie A side Fiorentina in 2013 where he earned a runners-up medal in the Coppa Italia as an unused substitute. Compper scored the winner against Serie B side Siena in the quarter finals,
He made 19 appearances in total, starting eight league matches and seven Europa League games.
He repeated the feat with Leipzig in 2016, three years after joining, playing 15 times as Die Bullen finished second and secured Champions League football this year.
In total he has made 195 Bundesliga appearances and 16 Serie A apperances. He’s also played eight times in European competition as well as 17 times in the German Cup, three times in the Coppa Italia and 70 times in the German second tier.
A single international cap was won in 2008, during a friendly defeat to England.
He’s no stranger to the European competition
Compper has played seven times in the Europa League, facing Pacos Ferreira, Pandurii and Esbjerg twice, and featuring once against Dnipro.
He was on the bench for the second match against Dnipro and for both games against Grasshopper Zurich.
All of Compper’s Europa League appearances came during his spell at Fiorentina, when Viola reached the last 16, although he did feature for Leipzig in their Champions League match against Besiktas earlier this season.
However, if he joined Celtic, he would be ineligible to feature against Zenit St Petersburg in the Europa League knockout stages.
That said, his experience would be beneficial to Celtic in all competitions.
He only lost his Leipzig place to a Barcelona target
In his first handful of seasons with Die Bullen, Compper made 27 league appearances, 23 league appearances and 25 league appearances.
It was only Leipzig’s acquisition of French teenager Dayot Upamecano that pushed Compper down the pecking order.
Just turned 19, Upamecano has been linked with Barcelona and is said to have an £89 million release clause in his contract.
The arrival of 18-year-old, 6ft 4 centre half Ibrahima Konyate from French side Sochaux suggests that Compper’s days at Leipzig may be numbered, with Hasenhuttl looking like he’s building for the future.
Even his secondary position of left back is usually taken by Marcel Halstenberg. Even if Hasenhuttl has denied that Compper will be allowed to leave, if the 32-year-old wants first-team football he may have to depart Leipzig.
Hassenhuttl said recently: “It’s clear that you’re going to sit down with the people who are not satisfied with their role and try to find solutions and explore what alternatives there are for the boys.
“Everyone is important to me, but I also know that it’s not satisfying if you do not get the playing time you want.”
However, earlier this week he U-turned, saying: “I don’t want to get rid of any player in January. Marvin has never come to me and said he’s unhappy or put in a transfer request. So he will be here until the summer at least.”
Sporting director Ralph Rangnick is reportedly open to the prospect of letting Compper move on to pastures new and at 32, he’s one of the elder statesmen of the Leipzig squad.
His playing style would suit Celtic
Compper is best described as a limited defender, which sounds disparaging but isn’t.
A limited centre half tends to focus on direct passes, or clearing the ball long to get rid of danger quickly.
In a tactical sense, using a limited defender works well in formations with wide players - such as Celtic’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation - or in teams that like to use a counter attacking style.
He would also slot into a 3-5-2/5-3-2 which Celtic have used on occasion as well.