Ange may “resurrect” Celtic deal for 6ft4 colossus, he could be their next Balde - opinion
Celtic could reportedly revive their interest in Schalke defender Malick Thiaw, despite having already added to their centre-back ranks this summer.
What’s the word?
According to journalist Pete O’Rourke – speaking to GIVEMESPORT – a move for the 20-year-old could still be on the cards this summer, having previously been linked with the German colossus earlier in the window.
The transfer insider stated: “He was a target earlier this summer when Celtic were looking for central defensive reinforcements. They’ve obviously brought in (Moritz) Jenz from France on loan, so maybe that lead is now not required to bring in a new centre-back.
“But I’m sure Celtic will be monitoring the situation, and if players were to leave the club or something opened up, that might be a move they might try and resurrect for Malick Thiaw.”
It remains to be seen if the Hoops will make an approach for the youngster – who is set to cost in the region of €10m (£8.5m) – having already signed Moritz Jenz on loan and completed the permanent capture of title winner, Cameron Carter-Vickers.
Dubbed a “big talent” by talent scout Jaek Kulig, Thiaw would no doubt be a notable coup were he to be plucked by the Old Firm giants this summer, having shown his class last term as his current side secured promotion back to the Bundesliga.
In 31 league outings in the German second tier in that glorious 2021/22 campaign, the £5.4m-rated ace demonstrated his defensive solidity after averaging 3.4 clearances, 2.6 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per game, while also proving a threat in the final third after also chipping in with two goals.
A towering figure at 6 foot 4, the youngster could well attempt to replicate the impact of another imposing giant who starred at Parkhead in Bobo Balde, with the iconic former Guinea international having enjoyed a stellar eight-year stint in Glasgow.
Also an imposing brute at 6 foot 5, the Marseille-born titan thrived in Scottish football after arriving from Toulouse in 2001, quickly earning the affection of the crowd for his hard-nosed, no-holes-barred approach to defending.
An undoubted fan favourite, the now-retired powerhouse went on to rack up 232 appearances in all competitions for the club as a rock-solid presence in the heart of the backline, notably winning five league titles and reaching the 2003 UEFA Cup final during what was a truly glittering spell at Celtic Park.
There had been hopes that current Hoops man Christopher Jullien could be the heir to Balde’s throne at the club – after former boss Neil Lennon made comparisons between the two – although the Frenchman is currently surplus to requirements after what’s been an injury-ravaged stint thus far.
With the 29-year-old potentially on his way, it could now fall to Thiaw to emerge as the new Balde-esque figure at the club, with the highly-rated prospect no doubt having the size and stature to replicate the Celtic cult hero.