“I am ready for a new challenge,” Says Kolo Toure
Scottish champions Celtic have announced the signing of Kolo Toure on a one-year deal.
The 35-year-old worked under manager Brendan Rodgers at Anfield and comes in to provide much needed defensive cover.
However, Ivory Coast international Toure is unlikely to be involved in Wednesday’s Champions League qualifier against FC Astana.
“He’s a wonderful professional,” said Celtic boss Rodgers of Toure after Saturday’s friendly with Leicester.
“I brought him into Liverpool to add that bit of experience and help two of the centre-halves there at the time.
“In the big games, he was outstanding for me.”
Toure, whose final game for the Reds was their Europa League final defeat in May, was released by Liverpool at the end of last season – and Rodgers is confident he can have a big impact in Glasgow,
“With a lot of young players in our squad, he can really help them and he can be of great assistance for [captain] Scott Brown, who is a wonderful leader but he needs support and help around him as well,” added the Celtic boss.
“It will be nice for Scott to have someone behind him, who has that real big-game experience.”
Danny Drinkwater and Scott Brown
Brown (right) featured against Leicester in Saturday’s 1-1 draw
Toure, who played 26 times for Liverpool last season, watched Rodgers’ side draw 1-1 with Premier League champions Leicester, the Foxes winning the pre-season encounter 6-5 on penalties at Celtic Park.
The defender has been capped 118 times and arrived in British football at Arsenal in 2002, becoming part of the club’s famous “Invincibles” side who remained unbeaten throughout the 2003-04 Premier League season.
He joined Manchester City for £14m in 2009, winning another Premier League title in 2012, before Rodgers took him to Liverpool in 2013.
“I am ready for a new challenge,” Toure told Sky Sports News on Saturday. “I’m here to try to be ready and help the team as much as I can.
“The Champions League is a great competition and I always look forward to it.”
The deadline for signings ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League third qualifying round first leg match was 21 July, but clubs are allowed one “wildcard” signing up to 24 hours before kick-off.
“We’ve got some work going on behind the scenes so hopefully we can get some business done,” added Rodgers.
“I’m probably more looking towards the weekend for some game time in the friendly against Barcelona and then assess where he [Toure] is at before the following week.”