Boli Mbombo, the Rapid Vienna defender is poised for his debut Celtic as Celtic runs out for the first match of the new campaign, following the completion of his move to the club at a price tag of £3 million. The 24-year-old player could very likely become the first choice defender for Celtic if someone is able to meet the £25 million demanded for Kieran Tierney.
In fact, as highlighted in one of our earlier articles, Boli Mbombo has always been on Celtic’s radar and was one of the two key players they were hoping to bring on board.
A great multitude of football punters bet on the transfers market, in order to bank upon such possibilities.
Mbombo’s transfer also attracted plenty of interest from punters everywhere.
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Let’s now look at the different ways in which Boli Mbombo’s arrival will help Celtic in the times to come.
A potent threat
Mbombo is 5’11” tall, which is an inch taller than his likely Scottish teammate.
He has a heavier frame too, which helps him hold off the challenges while being in control of the ball. This shows in his 39.7% aerial duel win rate, which is 8.9% more than that of Tierney’s. His quickness and strength enable him to recover fairly quickly whenever he has rushed moments on the field. Mbombo loves tackles and comes across as someone who is always committed and difficult to win the ball from, during most of the challenges.
However, he often gets exposed when he’s up against the trickly wingers with quick feet.
Mbombo is versatile enough to play all over the left side and has even been used occasionally as a left winger. As he’s technically comfortable, he doesn’t face any problems going forward and has the fitness levels to press high up on the pitch, to win the ball for his team.
Although he plays in various positions, Mbombo is first and foremost a defender, and his physicality and defensiveness makes him an ideal fit for the Premier League style of football.
Nice heat map
One of the ways of gauging how suitable a player is for the new team, is by looking at his heat map.
The heat map reveals the time spent by the player in various areas of the pitch.
The redder it is, the more time player spends in that pitch area. Mbombo’s heat map shows that he goes up and down the entire left side, which is big positive for the Celtics. In fact, he considers himself as a left-full back player. Cousin of Belgian national players Jordan and Romelu Lukaku, he expressed his desire to play for Belgium too by stating to the BBC that, “My little brother is also playing in Belgium, it is in our family’s blood, and hopefully one day we’ll be playing together in the national team of Belgium,”
Attacking ability and the accuracy of crosses
Although Mbombo is a very good crosser of the football, enjoying 30.7% accuracy, his figures are lower compared to the Scotsman Tierney who stands at 38.4%. He will need to get used to playing for a club which enjoys majority of possession in most of the games. It is expected to sharpen his attacking abilities too. Rapid Vienna had a fairly poor season, finishing seventh in the league. It might take some time for Mbombo to adjust to a more dominant and attacking side.
While Tierney can be termed as an irreplaceable player, Mbombo is the kind who has various talents required to succeed in Scotland.