There’s no point dressing it up anymore – Mohamed Elyounoussi’s time at Celtic hasn’t been the swashbuckling success we all hoped it would be.
The Norwegian was signed back in late August on loan from Southampton for the season. It was highly-exciting at the time, with Saints having previously signed him for £16million from Basel just one summer previously (BBC).
And his time here started off well. Racking up seven goals and six assists by mid-November, he looked like he was going to be an instant success (Transfermarkt). The goals were also coming in high-profile clashes against the likes of Cluj, Aberdeen, and Hibernian respectively.
However, an injury picked up in Lazio had him rooted to the treatment table for almost a month. Neil Lennon then played him against Rangers in the Betfred Cup final when he clearly wasn’t fit. Moi had to come off at half-time and that was that for another two months until he returned to the bench against Motherwell in early February.
Since then, Elyounoussi has started games against Clyde, Copenhagen, and Livingston respectively. He’s also had cameo appearances against Hearts and Kilmarnock. He’s failed to perform to any real degree in any of them. He also hasn’t added to his goals or assists tally (Transfermarkt).
Injury knocks aren’t helping Elyounoussi
Yet injuries have continued to be a problem for him. It’s clear he’s still building up his fitness, but at the same time, the season is coming to a close soon and Moi hasn’t made any positive long-term impact.
We know how good he can be. He was influential to the side back in October and November before his injury problems started. But against Livingston last night he was anonymous. He isn’t providing anywhere near the spark that you would expect from a £16m player.
You can’t point to the main problem simply being that he’s playing as a second striker at times to Odsonne Edouard. That doesn’t wash, because he’s played several times now at left-mid and is struggling to see much come off for him.
He’s at the stage now where he needs a confidence boost. He’s yet to really have that breakthrough performance that his Celtic career needs. So far, it’s all been a little bit tame from Elyounoussi in 2020. That one big “wow” performance has still to occur.
If he’s going to do anything of note at Celtic, he needs to start producing in the coming weeks. We have games at Ibrox and Easter Road coming up. If he could prove to be the difference in games like those, it would at least have meant that he’s left his mark here.
So far, it’s all just been a tad too flat. Hopefully, he can get his fitness levels back up to par and start making the impact his ability suggests he should.
When you’ve made 33 appearances in European competition including 11 in the Champions League for Basel, you expect a bit more than what we’re getting from Mo. Ideally, we start to see him produce from here on out, because we’re simply running out of time to see him turn up the heat.