Neil Lennon has told reporters to ‘ask someone else’ about Odsonne Edouard’s contract situation, in a press conference posted to Celtic’s YouTube channel today (2;53).
The Frenchman has been in outrageous form since the return from the winter break, scoring seven goals in his last five matches (FitbaStats).
It’s the kind of form that attracts attention and there’s been plenty of chat in recent days about his worth on the transfer market.
Chris Sutton suggested he could be worth £40m if an English Premier League comes in for him this summer (Daily Record).
Celtic also posted incredibly positive financial results last Friday, making a pre-tax profit of £24.4m for the six months to December 31st 2019.
Inevitably that led to some fans suggesting part of that should be re-invested into a new bumper contract for Edouard.
That was the question on the mind of one reporter at today’s press conference, who asked in light of those results (Celtic YouTube): “Would you be willing to break the bank to keep him [Edouard] here as long as possible?”
Lennon, with a smile on his face, said (Celtic YouTube): “That’s not a question you need to ask me, that’s a question you’ll need to ask someone else. We’ll see as we go along.”
A critical decision is looming
Edouard’s contract at Celtic doesn’t expire until 2022 after signing a four-year deal in 2018. On the face of it that’s a pretty secure position for both the player and the club, but when you start to think about maximum value, things become a little more urgent.
Selling the Frenchman next summer would mean he’s on the market with just a year left on his contract, not the ideal situation to eke out as many millions from cash-rich clubs as possible.
That means this summer is likely the one that makes most sense to say goodbye to him, purely from a financial point of view.
However, there is a solution if the player is agreeable to staying.
Handing him a big new contract that adequately rewards him financially, with the behind-the-scenes provision that he would be fairly sold within the next couple of years, would go a long way to finding a middle ground that suits all parties.
Edouard is paid up, Celtic are in a strong position with any potential buying parties and Hoops fans get to enjoy him for at least one more season, potentially pushing for a tenth league title in a row.
Lennon was vague with his comments but it’d be a surprise if the club are not thinking about this situation right now and how to best navigate.
Let’s hope the man, presumably Chief Executive Peter Lawwell, reporters should ask all about it can pull something out of the bag.