Bayern target Celtic's Baldé in search for replacement defender

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The Independent Football

Bayern Munich are still tracking the Celtic defender Bobo Baldé after running the rule over him at the recent Old Firm match. The 29-year-old has been targeted as a replacement for the Croatian centre-back Robert Kovac.

Uli Hoeness, the general manager at Bayern, and the coach, Felix Magath, were impressed with the powerful defender. Even though the Guinean international recently signed a contract extension until 2008, the giants of the Bundesliga could yet make Celtic an offer they cannot refuse.

"Baldé hasn't dropped out of our reckoning, in fact anything but," Hoeness said. "We have good memories of him. He is very strong in the air, and both Felix Magath and I were impressed with him. We plan to watch him again. We are on the look-out for a good central defender. We took a look at Benfica's Brazilian Luisco but he did not get the thumbs up from us.

"But our scouts are busy looking at players. When they tell us about someone they like, we jump on a plane to go and see them."

Germany's manager Jürgen Klinsmann has told German players that if they do not want to wear the boots of team sponsors Adidas, they will not play in the national team. "There won't be any Germany players with any other boot than Adidas," Klinsmann said.

A newspaper had reported that a union representing professional football players (VdV) had written a letter saying that there were "problems with individual contracts with manufacturers of sporting goods other than Adidas".

The letter was sent to Thomas Brdaric, Miroslav Klose, Frank Baumann, Thomas Hitlsperger, Timo Hildebrand, Jens Lehmann, Arne Friedrich, Dietmar Hamann and Christian Woerns, it said.

Under the terms of Germany's sponsorship and equipment contract, players must be completely kitted out in Adidas gear.

Klinsmann said: "If any player believes he has to take legal action so that he can play in his own boot [brand)], well he can't sue to play for us.

"If he doesn't accept the terms, he won't come with us and he can watch the match on television."

In October, the Arsenal goalkeeper, Jens Lehmann, was told by the German football association that he must change his gloves to Adidas or risk losing his chance of playing in the 2006 World Cup, to be staged in Germany.

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