FORMER £14million man Kolo Toure could be set to become Brendan Rodgers’ first big signing as manager of Celtic.
The former Arsenal and Manchester City defender is available as a free agent after being released by Liverpool at the end of his contract.
And it is understood Rodgers believes the 35-year-old’s European experience could prove invaluable in the Hoops’ push to secure a coveted Champions League group place.
The Ivorian, who Manchester City paid Arsenal the huge fee for when signing him in 2009, was part of the Reds run to the Europa League Final last season.
A two-time English Premier League winner, he started against Seville in the final in Basle, which was won by the Spanish club.
It was one of 71 appearances he made after being signed by Rodgers as a free agent from Manchester City in 2013.
However, while Toure was a cult hero with the Anfield support for his enthusiasm and sunny personality, manager Jurgen Klopp decided he was not able to grant him his wish for a new deal.
While the chance to be reunited with Rodgers north of the border is sure to hold appeal, the elder brother of Manchester City star Yaya knows he will have counter offers.
Monaco have been consistently linked with him since it became clear Liverpool did not plan to renew his deal.
The Celtic boss, though, knows he has the financial backing to be competitive with wages, and can offer Toure the chance to potentially be in at the start of something big at the Scottish champions.
At the other end of the age scale, meanwhile, Rodgers is hoping transfer target Moussa Dembele will heed the advice of World Cup winner Frank Lebouef when deciding whether to sign up for the Hoops.
Fulham’s 19-year-old French striker is also available under freedom of contract.
However, they know they would need to shell out around £250,000 in compensation to the London club.
But Dembele, who scored 17 goals in the English Championship last season and 40 in tandem with Scot Ross McCormack, could be spoiled for choice.
Chelsea, Everton, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, and others, have all shown interest.
The Parkhead outfit, though, have been greatly encouraged by the player’s insistence, made recently on French television with the backing of Leboeuf.
He stated the number of first-team opportunities he gets will be key to his decision.
“Money and status of a club are both important things but Dembele is right in asking himself whether he will play or not,” stated Leboeuf.
“He should be looking at his progression and how many players in his position are in the current team?
“If there are four attackers in the team, what is the point of signing for that club?”