As Celtic supporters continue to dream about the possibility of securing Tottenham Hotspur’s Ryan Sessegnon, we take a look back at what Jose Mourinho previously said about him.
The English winger, who can operate anywhere down the left side, has this week been linked with a host of clubs including Celtic for a potential loan deal (The Herald).
Sessegnon was signed by Spurs from Fulham in a £25million deal in the summer of 2019 (BBC), but was hardly given a chance by former manager Mauricio Pochettino. After Mourinho was appointed in November 2019, the winger played on another 10 occasions before again finding himself out of the picture after lockdown (Transfermarkt).
But even so, Mourinho has sung Sessegnon’s praises in the past, and even compared him to Ashley Cole. For those wondering what style of player Sessegnon is, here’s a look at some of Mourinho’s comments as quoted by Football.London back in May.
“I think Ryan is absolutely fantastic, I have known him since a kid in Fulham. When he comes to the first team in the Premier League it is different to the Championship.
“I think in this moment he is a winger on the left, can also play on the right, can learn progressively and even developing physically, which he is doing. Even last time I saw him and the first time I met him when I came here he is already different physically.
“I think Ryan can play as a left-back. Probably the left-back in the last decade was Ashley Cole, in spite of him being from two enemy clubs, but he was fantastic. But Ryan has lots of similarities with Ashley, and he can learn how to defend. In the future I think he can be (a left-back) but in this moment he is not ready to play as a left-back.”
Celtic strongly lack pace down the left
Any wing-back who signs for Celtic will have to be efficient defensively. However, Mourinho’s comments suggests that Sessegnon may have the qualities to have that drilled into him. Cutting his teeth defensively at Parkhead would be a good opportunity for him.
But it’s interesting that Mourinho relates him to Cole. The England great was more known for his attacking exploits and ability to bomb forward whilst having the energy to cover the whole left flank for 90 minutes. Or, to sum up, exactly the kind of player Celtic need.
There’s clearly big excitement around this from the Hoops supporters, and no wonder. Loan deals are often met with a rolling of the eyes from many in the support, but this is one you could most certainly forgive.
This wouldn’t be a long-term arrangement either. Spurs have invested heavily in him and will almost certainly want him back for the future. At only 20 years of age, the potential in Sessegnon is frightening.
Perhaps there’s an argument to be had about whether we should be bringing in loan players as opposed to developing our own talent. But there’s such a difference in quality between Greg Taylor and Sessegnon that it would be stupid to pass this opportunity up.
We’ll wait and see what comes of it, but he’s clearly highly-rated by Spurs boss Mourinho.