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Harambee Stars

Dortmund, Arsenal and Celtic declare interest in signing Kenyan defender

Joseph Okumu is currently signed to Belgian side KAA Gent

Gent's Joseph Okumu pictured during a press conference of Belgian soccer team KAA Gent, Wednesday 20 October 2021, in Belgrado, Serbia, ahead of tomorrow's Conference League game against Serbian team FK Partizan, on the third day (out of six) in the Group B of the UEFA Conference League group stage. (Photo by JASPER JACOBS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

The summer transfer window for European clubs is set to open on June 10 and it seems one Harambee Stars defender is set to be in the thick of things.

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The 25-year-old currently on contract with Belgian side KAA Gent is reportedly on the radar of English Premier League side Arsenal, Scottish side Celtic and German club Borussia Dortmund.

“We have had informal interests from Arsenal and Celtic, but Borussia Dortmund is the first side to make an official inquiry about the central defender who is open to a move if a proper agreement is reached,” Okumu’s representatives told the People Daily.

Celtic seem to be the front runners in signing Okumu after fans and the press equated him to Liverpool centre-back Virgil Van Dijk who played for the Scottish giants before moving to English side Southampton before landing on the red side of Merseyside.

The £75million defender was part of Celtics’ three Scottish Premiership-winning sides between 2014 and 2016, while also winning the Scottish League Cup in 2015.

Just like the Dutch skipper, Okumu has made a name for himself at Gent with his aerial abilities and was a regular taker of dead balls in attacking areas.

In the 2021/2022 season, Okumu managed to have the third-highest number of interceptions (49) and tackles (41) in Gent’s squad. He also had the second-highest average for blocks (0.9) and the third-most clearances per game (3.2).

His aerial strength was at show towards the end of the season when he scored his first goal for Gent when they defeated KV Mechelen 1-0 in a Belgian Pro League fixture on May 7.

If Okumu signs for Celtic then he will write his name on the history books as the second Kenyan footballer to sign for the Scottish side, after former Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama.

Just like Wanyama, Okumu also has an opportunity to sign for an English side. If Arsenal manage to scoop the defender then that will also make him the second Kenyan to join a Premier League side after guess who...Wanyama. The latter just like Van Dijk played for Southampton before moving to Arsenal rivals Tottenham.

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