Kenyan international Joseph Okumu has admitted he is ready for a major move in his career amid links to both Celtic and Rangers.
The 24-year-old is currently plying his trade with Swedish outfit IF Elfsborg, though both Glaswegian sides face intense continental competition for Okumu’s services.
French side FC Lorient have reportedly made an opening offer to the Swedish side, potentially denting Celtic’s hopes of bolstering their defensive ranks.
As quoted by Glasgow Live, L’Equipe have reported that an opening €2.5 million (£2.2m) bid has been submitted, though Elfsborg appear likely to reject that offer.
An emerging talent in the Swedish top flight, Okumu has insisted he is ready to make the next leap forward in his career following spells mostly in the lower franchises of American football.
“Yes, definitely [will take the next step]. The most important thing is that I have already made an impression here. When I have done that, and both I and the club are satisfied… I think we have the same interests here, that I will take the next step.”
However, Okumu was reserved when asked about potential suitors – insisting he prefers to leave such conundrums in the hands of his agent:
The centre-back said:
“I don’t know, I let my agent take care of it. When there is something concrete, he will let me know, but we have not talked about this, so I am not so sure about it.
“I prefer that he lets me know when it’s really concrete. Until then, I want to stay away from it, as it takes a lot of energy. So, I stay in the background around all this.”
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With Norwegian defensive mainstay Kristoffer Ajer admitting he is keen to move on from Celtic, the need to secure a replacement is exacerbated.
The 7-cap Kenya international is a natural left-footed option that has tried to model his style of play in a similar fashion to David Luiz and Thiago Silva, rendering him a progressive option with a strong ability to play out from the back.
After clocking a speed of 34.58 km/h in the Swedish top-flight, Okumu was even named as the league’s fastest player.
Progressive and pacey, Okumu could supplement a transition to a dynamic style of defensive play under a new manager. In that sense, Celtic could be in for a hidden gem.