Xavier Mbuyamba – Celtic linked to 6 foot 5 defender compared to Van Dijk

In recent days, reports have linked Celtic with a move for former Barcelona and Chelsea academy player Xavier Mbuyamba. According to Sky Sports, Celtic alongside English championship side Watford are “among the clubs credited with interest” in the 6-foot 5 centre half. The 21-year-old has played every game this season for FC Volendam in the Dutch top flight, scoring five goals and registering one assist.

The La Masia graduate made the match day squad for Barcelona in January 2020 but following release from the Catalan side, a subsequent move to Chelsea was plagued by a long-term knee injury.

With recent criticism of Yuki Kobayashi’s performance in the 3-0 defeat to Rangers, our interest in Mbuyamba would suggest Ange feels we need further strength in the centre half department. Ange has been stubborn when it comes to rotating his starting XI this season, and in particular rotating his starting centre halves.

Stephen Welsh has been somewhat frozen out this season with his last appearance coming in a 2-1 win at St Johnstone in August last year. Moritz Jenz was another who struggled to break the partnership of Cameron Carter Vickers and Carl Starfelt with the German defender’s loan being cancelled in January.

Both Starfelt and Carter-Vickers have been immense this season and are arguably the best centre halves in the league, but the question remains whether they are being pushed enough for their starting berths.

At 6 foot 5 feet tall, Mbuyamba could be the player Celtic fans have been crying out for, a centre half who is a threat in both boxes.

The former Dutch u19 international is subject to interest from numerous clubs, with the ever-trustworthy Fabrizio Romano reporting both AZ Alkmaar and Ajax are also interested in the player.

A club such as Ajax would normally be regarded as higher than Celtic in the football food chain, but the Dutch giants are set to miss out on Champions league football with the Amsterdam club lurking in third in the Eredivisie, five points off PSV Eindhoven in second.

Celtic’s ability to provide Mbuyamba with Champions League football could seem promising to the player. He could also look to Virgil Van Dijk, a fellow Dutch centre half who joined Celtic from the Dutch top flight, who of course was very successful at Celtic before moving to Southampton in the Premier League.

But all these external factors that come into play when Celtic pursue a player come down to one thing, whether Ange sees them as a perfect fit for the club. If Mbuyamba is not a perfect fit for Celtic football club, Ange will look elsewhere.

James French

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1 Comment

  1. Rabbie Burns on

    Starfelt is not “immense” and, unfortunately, never will be. He is a favourite of Ange, but we just seen again with Ancelotti and Militao for Madrid v Man City, that a favourite is not always the best choice and will lose you important goals and games, we’re just so lucky we have CCV, now he is “immense.”