Kolo Toure has been out of contract for over a month now, after his deal with Scottish champions Celtic expired at the end of the season. But the Ivory Coast defender revealed that he is in negotiations with the Hoops over a new contract that could see him take over a player/coach role.
Currently in his homeland, assessing his options, Toure said (as quoted by the Daily Record):
“I have the legs to continue for one or two more seasons. Celtic are the club with whom discussions are most advanced. This is the most feasible track. I love football too much to stop today, but I also think about my future.”
“Brendan [Rodgers] is okay to teach me the trade at the same time. But as things stand I don’t close the door to any other club.”
It is no secret that manager Brendan Rodgers is intent on bringing the big burly defender back to the Parkhead ahead of the next season and he too has spoken about a possible coaching role for the former Arsenal man.
Only last week, he said (as quoted by the Daily Record):
“It’s a tough one. Kolo is still in that mindset, ‘do I want to play? He’s now 36. He was fantastic for us last year, his contract has run out, but he is someone I would like to have a role for.”
“Obviously, the playing role diminishes for him. He just needs time to see where he’s at, in terms of playing, or whether he falls into the coaching role more.”
“It’s something that he and I have spoken about over the course of the season.”
The 36-year old Toure made just 17 appearances over the course of the 2016/17 season for Celtic and is at a point in his career where he needs to analyse how much he can contribute on the field. While it is natural for any player to want to keep on playing, at a certain point, he needs to realise he can make a valuable contribution to the team’s cause in spite of not playing much.
Toure was that kind of a player for Celtic last season. Despite featuring sparingly, it was evident that he was not someone who was sullen over the lack of opportunities and was happy to help the team in any way possible. Upon completing the domestic treble, he was one of the players in the most celebratory mood and was at the centre of all the celebrations that went about in the aftermath of their success.
Someone with over 500 career appearances at club level and a winner of numerous honours at all his clubs, barring Liverpool, Toure has gained so much experience over the years and his knowledge and know-how of the game are worth its weight in gold, especially for the younger players in the team. He is someone who is very well respected in the footballing fraternity and has that aura of leadership which makes him a pivotal part of the dressing room.
The 36-year old may not be the player he once used to be but can have a very positive influence on the youngsters coming through the ranks, and can be an inspiration to them. They will only be gaining a lot from the abundance of knowledge he will be imparting to them if he takes up the role of a player/coach. So, a new contract with Celtic, involving the duties of both a player and a coach, will be a positive one for the club and should definitely excite the fans.