Celtic will lose Odsonne Edouard in the summer, but the time to replace him is now

By Euan Davidson

December 29, 2020

Nobody in the Celtic support wants to see the back of Odsonne Edouard.

The young Frenchman has scored a ridiculous 71 goals in 149 games for the Bhoys, providing 35 assists (Transfermarkt). Every bit the modern complete forward, Eddy can dribble, hold up play, score from a variety of positions and lead any attack. He’s comfortable alone or part of a duo.

Celtic will miss him when he goes. Most recently, his agent has reportedly had talks with the Bhoys and with A.C. Milan. The consensus is he won’t leave in January, but he will depart in the summer (Daily Record).

Losing our best player in January during a title race would’ve been a huge blow, and it’s good to see he’ll stick around until the end of the 20-21 season. He still has a significant role to play as Celtic chase 10IAR – which is still very much a mathematical possibility.

If Celtic are to adequately replace him, we need to make a signing in January, however.

Albian Ajeti in action vs Lille / (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)

Do Celtic have the replacement in their ranks?

Leigh Griffiths has been talismanic for Celtic since signing in January 2014. His return of 121 goals in 245 games (Transfermarkt) suggests that in itself.

However, he hasn’t hit double figures in the league since 16-17. Between injuries and battling mental illness, the Scottish international striker has struggled for consistency. On his day, he’s unplayable and a threat to any defence; it’s just that those days are fewer and further between.

Albian Ajeti, a £4.5m summer signing from West Ham United (BBC), didn’t even make the bench for the Scottish Cup Final. The Swiss striker hasn’t played a full 90 minutes for Celtic, despite the considerably outlay. That’s a huge concern.

Similarly, Patryk Klimala featured briefly against Hamilton Accies, but there hasn’t been enough from Polish Paddy to suggest that he’s a long-term first-choice striker. If anything, he probably needs to spend the latter part of the 20-21 season on loan, in order to get the game time and numbers he really needs.

When Moussa Dembélé left Celtic (Sky Sports), it was clear that Odsonne Edouard would be tasked with stepping up to take his countryman’s place. At the moment, it doesn’t seem like the obvious replacement for French Eddy is training in Lennoxtown.

Kasper Junker is reportedly a Celtic target / (Photo by FREDRIK VARFJELL/NTB/AFP via Getty Images)

January transfer talk

Celtic have been heavily linked with Bodø/Glimt striker Kasper Junker. But that’s because we were the ones to link him to the club as someone who should be on Nick Hammond’s radar.

We’ve also spoken about Kevin Nisbet, who is likely to be subject to bids in January.

Still, it was the element of surprise about the aforementioned French strikers that made their ascents so special. Both of them came out of… not nowhere, but certainly not from any position of prominence.

Dembélé wasn’t getting a game for Fulham, while Edouard had just come off an unremarkable loan spell at Toulouse. The two signings were gambles, much like Ajeti and Klimala, yet their impact has been totally different.

It’s not to say that the Swiss and Polish strikers haven’t any time to turn things around, they absolutely do. But if you ask any Celtic fan if they, beyond Griffiths, have any confidence in our current options taking Edouard’s place? I doubt you’d get a positive response.

Neil Lennon, Nick Hammond and Peter Lawwell have a job on their hands. Top strikers don’t come cheap, and the current management doesn’t have the best reputation for developing talent. If Edouard is going to be replaced long-term, watch what Celtic’s recruitment team do in the coming weeks.