Versatile attacker Daizen Maeda is also now officialy a Celtic player following his six-month loan from Yokohama F. Marinos.
Manager Ange Postecoglou is eyeing reinforcements in several defensive areas after the Parkhead club confirmed Nir Bitton and Tom Rogic have left the club.
The Scottish champions are not expected to make wholesale changes like they did last summer, but one player Celtic are pursuing is central midfielder Vinicius Souza.
The Brazilian, who spent last season on loan in the Belgian top-flight, is the man Postecoglou wants to strengthen their midfield and the lure of guaranteed Champions League football could prove crucial in negotiations.
Who is Vinicius Souza?
Born in Rio de Janeiro on 19 June 1999, Vinicius de Souza Costa is a Brazilian defensive midfielder with three Under-20 caps to his name.
The 22-year-old began his senior career with Flamengo in his homeland and after five years in the club’s youth ranks, he made his first-team debut in March 2019 during a league game against Vasco da Gama at the 79,000 seater Maracanã Stadium.
He joined Belgian First Division B club Lommel SK in August 2020 for a transfer fee in the region of €2.5million.
Souza’s performances earned him a season-long loan move to Jupiler Pro League side KV Mechelen last summer where he scored two goals in 35 appearances.
Last season’s form
According to Whoscored.com, Souza averaged a rating of 7.20 for Mechelen last season. Though predominantly a defensive midfielder, he can also operate in a more advanced role and just in front of the defence.
It would appear as though Souza would be a replacement for Bitton to challenge the likes of Yosuke Ideguchi for a place in the starting XI.
What has been said about his future?
Souza has admitted he really wants to test himself on the biggest European stage next season, which could be a major selling point for Celtic.
His agent, Joao Carlos provided an update on how the picture looks for his client last month.
Quoted by Het Nieuwsblad, Carlos said: “He’s in for an important month. There are three contrete offers on the table.
“One from Belgian top club, one from a Dutch top club and one from italy. There is also interest from Germany and England.
“With his unique profile, Vinicius is currently very well positioned in the market. All over Europe, there are clubs looking for a strong number six with a big technical background.
“Now it’s up to me to collect the best options and present them to him. As a player, he and his family always have the last word.”
Link to City Football Group
Souza is 60-per cent owned by the City Football Group, the Manchester City parent company from which Celtic hired Ange Postecoglou and head of recruitment Mark Lawwell.
His parent team Lommel is City Group’s Belgian club, which would make the Glasgow giants a stronger competitior given their already strong relationship.
How likely is the deal to go ahead?
Given the reports by several media outlets, Celtic are expected to face stiff compeition for Souza’s signature. His parent clubs are understood to want £7.75million, which would make a potential transfer difficult.
Fenerbahce, PSV Eindhoeven, Club Brugge and Bologna have declared an interest, meaning Celtic will have to persuade Souza that his immediate future lies in the SPFL.