Mark Wilson has praised Celtic on-loan winger Mohamed Elyounoussi, describing him as a quality player who Neil Lennon likes.
However, the Parkhead cult hero doubts that the Hoops have seen enough to justify buying him outright, in conversation with the Scottish Sun.
Elyounoussi joined Celtic on loan from Southampton last summer on a season-long stint but his time at Parkhead has been disrupted by injuries and loss of form.
To date, the Norway international has made 20 appearances for Celtic, with just seven Scottish Premiership starts.
However, Elyounoussi’s 20 appearances for the Bhoys have nonetheless yielded an impressive seven goals and six assists.
In the Scottish Sun, Wilson gave his verdict on the futures of seven loan and out-of-contract Celtic players, and of Elyounoussi, he doubted whether he’d be back.
“He started very well and you can see the attributes he’s got but I don’t know if he’s been an absolute standout that you would say, like Forster how far can we stretch our wage budget for this guy. I don’t know if he falls into that category.” said Wilson.
“I think when he started off he certainly showed what a quality player he was and I’m sure he still is. I just think he has been unlucky with injuries and his game time has been limited and that may affect what Celtic think about potentially splashing out a big transfer fee for him in the future.
“I think it’s obvious that Neil Lennon likes him. I think you saw that in the cup final where he played after hardly training and he was miles off it but it shows you what Neil thinks of him as a player to throw him into that environment and hope he could get something out him.
“But I just don’t know if he’d be worth the gamble of a substantial transfer fee or trying to break the wage structure for him.”
Elyounoussi is undoubtedly a talented player who has shown what he’s capable of at times in the green and white hoops but unfortunately, injury has stopped him from truly carving out a place in Lennon’s team.
As reported in The Scotsman, Southampton are said to want £9million for Elyounoussi, who is on £60,000-a-week, according to Spotrac – fairly big numbers for Celtic, who’d have to equal their record outlay on a player, not to mention pretty high wages.
Ultimately, however, Elyounoussi seems eager to win a place in Southampton’s first team next season, telling Norwegian outlet TV2 recently: “I still have three years left of the contract with Southampton and I want to show a better side than what I have done. I hope I can come back and fight for a place. But at the same time, I really want to finish the season in Celtic and win the title.”
Unless Southampton tell the 25-year-old that he is surplus to requirements and free to find another club, then it looks as though Celtic may have seen the last of the £16million man in the green and white.