This Celtic scouting focus comes courtesy of Max Halliday. Max writes for SM Media, and has already contributed to 67 Hail Hail. His focus is on squad building and scouting.
In recent seasons, Celtic have had favourable results when utilising the French market. It is, after all, bursting with top-talent across the top 2 tiers. A cursory glance at those who don’t make the France national team will attest to this.
Edouard, Jullien and Weah have all had varying degrees of success in the famous Green and White. Largely, signings from France have been popular figures among the support.
Whoever oversees Celtic’s recruitment in the summer could be looking at Ligue 1 and thinking of it as a good place to start, particularly as it is the home of several talented young players. I’ve listed four potentially outstanding targets, that the Celtic scouting team ought to be considering.
Nathanael Mbuku – a rumoured Celtic scouting target
With 4 goal involvements in the form of 2 goals and 2 assists [Transfermarkt], it hasn’t been a bad breakthrough year for the French youngster. He also bolsters international pedigree having worked his way up through the ranks of the French youth set up and is currently a star performer in the Under 18’s.
It was at Under 17 level though, where he particularly impressed for the French side, with 10 goals in 22 games. Mbuku is the type of player who would excite Celtic fans, a keen dribbler, he is amongst the most fouled players in Ligue 1 this season.
His primary position is on the right-wing, cutting in on his stronger left foot, in a similar style to that of Patrick Roberts. He has also been known to feature on the left-wing and as 10. Mbuku’s decision-making is an area for improvement. However, that will come with experience. He is the sort of player that should thrive in a team that often play on the front foot.
Also previously linked with the club [Daily Record], 19-year-old right-back Brandon Soppy is on the fringes of an extremely talented Rennes side. The Celtic scouting system should have this young man on their radar.
Soppy has made 8 appearances this season for the French club [Transfermarkt]. 2 of those were in the group stages of the Champions League, which will stand him in good stead for the future. Valued at around £6m, his contract due to expire in 2022. He could be an absolute steal for Celtic.
In parallel with Mbuku, Soppy has also worked his way through the French international youth set-up. He’s versatile, being able to play in the heart of the defence as well as his primary position on the right. Right-back will be a problem position for Celtic in the summer; Soppy would be a great option for the club to look at early on the window.
Celtic scouting ought to include Chrislain Matsima
Are Celtic scouting Chrislain Matsima? They ought to be. Matsima’s a highly-rated centre-back who has made 7 appearances this season for Monaco [Transfermarkt]. Also a French youth international, he’s started in the Under 18s.
His current valuation is around £3.5 million. However, Celtic could also keep a keen eye on his contract situation as it expires in summer 2022 like Soppy’s. Standing at 6 foot 3, Matsima is known for being strong in the air and a threat in the opposition penalty area. That’ll undoubtedly draw comparisons with Christopher Jullien.
He played the full 90 minutes in Monaco’s 3-2 victory over a star-studded PSG in November [WhoScored?]. The future is promising for this youthful starlet. Also, it’s frightening just how many promising French players have emerged over the last decade.
Romain Perraud – a Zidane favourite
The Perraud to Celtic rumour has recently hit the headlines again [MSN]. A target for the club in summer 2019, Celtic opted to sign Boli Bolingoli instead. That left the Frenchman disappointed, as he was reportedly very keen to come to Glasgow.
The left-back got his move to Ligue 1 side, Stade Brest, instead and has been an excellent acquisition for the club. This season alone, the 23-year-old has scored 3 goals and made 5 assists [Transfermarkt], showing he is not only an attacking full-back but that he also has developed an end-product.
Perraud’s crossing ability is excellent which would immediately separate him from Celtic’s current crop of full-backs, and if he was to arrive at the club, he would become the most potent at crossing the ball since Tosh McKinlay.