Celtic coach John Kennedy’s comments on the Mohamed Elyounoussi signing hopefully hints at a potential start this Saturday.
Elyounoussi was brought in at the end of August from Southampton on a season-long loan deal. The Norwegian superstar was signed by Saints just one year ago for a mouth-watering £16million (BBC).
The left-winger has been a success in the past with both Molde and Basel. He also famously scored for the former at Celtic Park during a Europa League clash back in 2015. Since then, he’s gone on to earn big-money moves to Switzerland and England, but struggled to breakthrough consistently in the Premier League last season.
His reputation, however, remains a big one as he arrives at Parkhead looking to get his career back on track. And speaking in the Celtic View (Volume 55, Issue 10, Pages 6+7), assistant manager Kennedy was full of praise for the new man.
“We have wingers who are fast and direct on the outside, whereas Elyounoussi is a guy who likes to come in off the sides. He has a great goal record and is a guy who likes to get goals.
“He shoots from outside the box very well and gets in the box for crosses, so he’s an intelligent footballer. We can see that in the training and we can also see he’s going to be a good player or us.
“He has quality, he’s physically very good, quick, dynamic and aggressive. He and Moriz Bauer did some extra work to get the conditioning right for the games that are coming up now (during the international break).”
A glowing report on the Mohamed Elyounoussi signing
Kennedy isn’t kidding about his goal-return. To break it down shows some very impressive stats for a wide-man.
By far his best period in terms of goals came at Molde. In Norway, the winger managed a stunning 42 goals in 92 games. His move to Basel saw him nab 23 in 84 outings. Unfortunately, however, he didn’t score in any of his 19 matches for Southampton (Transfermarkt).
But that’s why he’s at Parkhead, to rediscover that terrific goalscoring and creative form that’s earned him some big moves in his career. At 25, Elyounoussi has plenty to offer the Hoops. The Morrocan-born Norway international has quite the pedigree.
There are always dangers in starting anyone on an astroturf surface, especially a player that hasn’t played all season. But Celtic need to find a starting XI from somewhere, and now feels like the right time to see what Elyounoussi has to offer.
He’s performed against teams of a higher standard than anything Scottish football has to offer. Therefore, there will surely be a keen desire from the player himself to get on the pitch and impress.
You could see why he maybe didn’t make a swift debut in the derby win at Ibrox last Sunday. However, the time is right to give him his chance. And giving him such a rave review in this week’s official club magazine hopefully suggests he’s in the manager’s thoughts