Celtic have accepted they can no longer command an exorbitant transfer fee for striker Odsonne Edouard, opening the door to interest from Arsenal and Leicester City.
The Frenchman has been in exceptional form for the Hoops despite their ‘Ten in a Row’ hopes crumbling at the hands of Rangers. He scored his 20th goal of the season against Aberdeen a few weeks ago, and aged just 23, it seems like a matter of time before he secured a big move – either to the Premier League or mainland Europe.
He could have moved on in the summer had he pushed for it, but Neil Lennon persuaded him to stay around and help the club get their tenth successive title over the line. But that hasn’t happened and now, with his contract due to expire in 2022, Celtic find themselves in a difficult position.
In August, it was reported that Celtic wanted £40m to part with the hitman, but now The Telegraph say a fee of around £15-20m should be enough to pry him away. That’s dramatic, but not unrealistic: Celtic are in a far weaker negotiating position now than they were a year ago.
It’s said that Arsenal are leading the way as they seek to regenerate their forward line in the upcoming transfer market. Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah enter the final years of their respective deals next season, and they could each be moved on to make room for a new striker, with Edouard viewed as a realistic replacement.
Brendan Rodgers’ interest in bringing him to Leicester is no secret either, though, and if the player is left to choose between the two, he may lean towards the East Midlands – especially if Champions League football is on the agenda.
But whatever happens, Celtic certainly won’t want to lose Edouard for free. And with the player showing no indication of signing a new contract, their only option to recoup any sort of fee for him seems to be cashing in now while they still can.
Edouard has spent four seasons in total at Parkhead, scoring 81 goals in 163 games since joining from PSG on an initial loan in 2017. That includes an impressive strike-rate of 15 in 36 European appearances, while he has also scored 17 in just 13 caps for France at under-21 level.
At Celtic Park, there is a feeling his potential exceeds that of Moussa Dembele, who scored 45 times for Lyon before a move to Atletico Madrid. It seems more and more likely that he will get the chance to prove that next season.