As it looks increasingly likely that Celtic will be unsuccessful in their battle to retain Moussa Dembele beyond the summer, Brendan Rodgers has picked out Paris Saint-Germain loanee Odsonne Edouard as a potential replacement.
“Moussa is a fantastic player and the reasons why he has come here have borne fruit. We wouldn’t want to lose him, but you have to think he’s a big talent and something may happen in the summer. We try and have the next one lined up,” Rodgers is quoted as saying by the Herald.
“Odsonne is a top talent. If you look at him, we brought him in for a reason. He has developed and grown over the season. This is a wonderful place to continue with that education.
“I have said all along, and I know there were question marks about him, that Odsonne has everything. He needs an education and has a way to go, but he’s a top talent.
“He probably announced himself to the supporters in the previous league game against Rangers when he got the winner. He showed it in other games, but he won’t get carried away. You have to keep players hungry and humble and keep them wanting to develop.
“It’s up to the clubs. The club will meet with PSG and say where we can take it.”
Whilst PSG may not be keen to sell, their struggles to comply with Financial Fair Play would force them to sell some players they may rather retain and Edouard may well fall into that category.
Currently valued at just £1.35 million by Transfermarkt, the Daily Mail have previously reported that there is a £7 million purchase clause in the loan agreement and a deal in such a price range would certainly be affordable for the Scottish champions, particularly if they receive big money for the sale of Dembele too.
There is no doubting that Dembele’s shoes would be very big shoes to fill, having scored 15 and assisted eight in 36 league games this season, but Edouard has shown signs that he could step up and relish the pressure of such a role.
With 11 goals in 26 games himself, the 20-year-old is already not far behind and that is without having the consistency and number of starts that Dembele possesses.
The only case against him taking that step may be that whilst no-one is particularly close to challenging Celtic, they may be reluctant to take what could be seen as a step backwards going from an in-demand striker like Dembele to a relative unknown in Edouard.
If Rodgers is as confident as he seems in the striker’s ability though, Edouard could prove to be the next Dembele in the making and represent very smart business for the club.