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Celtic’s ‘enforcer’ transfer target gets unlikely comparison

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Lawrence Shankland has compared Celtic transfer target Vinicius Souza with Nir Bitton. 

After nine seasons at Celtic the Israeli left at the end of last season after fleeting appearances in Ange Postecoglou’s side- including two red cards. 

‘An enforcer’ has been the most used description for the midfielder that Postecoglou is believed to be looking for, someone in the mould of Victor Wanyama or Scott Brown. 

Callum McGregor seems to be the only midfielder currently trusted in that role with Reo Hatate, David Turnbull and Matt O’Riley mainly catching the eye for their attacking qualities. 

Shankland, now playing for Beerschot, came up against Souza in the Belgian Jupiler League last season with Ajax and PSV Eindhoven also believed to be interested in signing the midfielder who was on loan at Mechelen last season from Lommel.   

Profiling Souza, the former Dundee United striker told the Daily Record: 

I remember playing against Souza. He’s hard to miss as he’s a tall, athletic guy who makes an instant impression on you as he’s a bit of a machine. We played Mechelen twice and both times we struggled. They’re a good side and Souza is a big part of how they play as he sits in front of the defence and dominates in that area. 

We struggled in the two games against them and in both games he performed well. He does the simple things well. The role he performed was as a holding player in the midfield. He doesn’t over-complicate things, he just keeps things ticking over and moving the ball forward.

He looked technically very good and is a good reader of the game. He puts me in mind of Nir Bitton. It would make sense that Celtic are looking for that type of player now that Bitton has moved on. Celtic will have been impressed as he’s had a good season in Belgium and clubs have clearly taken notice. 

Souza has a similar type of stature to Bitton and looks more than capable of going into Celtic and doing a similar job to the one Bitton carried out. 

Celtic’s links with the City Football Group, which includes Lommel should help their hopes of signing Souza but ultimately the decision will fall to the player who’ll know that Ajax and PSV have long standing records of developing South American players for the major European leagues. 

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