And then there were four. Ivory Coast’s Vakoun Issouf Bayo (22 tomorrow) arrived yesterday on a four year contract from Slovak club Dunajska Streda, bolstering Celtic’s striker count to four, after the arrival earlier this week of Timothy Weah. With the continued absence of Leigh Griffiths and injury to Odsonne Edouard, the club were forced to play teenage winger Mikey Johnston as striker last month.
I normally avoid YouTube videos of a prospect as they are notoriously edited, but we are able to view all of Vakoun’s goals online. What’s clear is that a higher percentage of his goals are headed than any player I’ve known. He made his Ivory Coast debut as a late substitute in a African Cup of Nations qualifier in October.
Celtic’s policy here was to be fleet of foot. They spent a reported £2m on a player who left African football 10 months ago and has played only 32 games in Europe. Had they continued to scout the player – and his form continued on its current trajectory, competition for his signature would have grown exponentially.
What has been more important on this occasion was the player’s African connections. Ivorian superstar Kolo Toure continued his stay in Glasgow as a Celtic coach after his playing career ended. He also coaches the Ivory Coast national and under-23 teams, so has witnessed Bayo’s progress through the ranks.
Every deal is a risk, but with Kolo’s assistance Vakoun has an excellent chance to settle into life in Glasgow.