Our view: the Celtic replacement for Odsonne Edouard, tearing up the Belgian top-flight

By Euan Davidson

March 5, 2021

And so, my Celtic supporters, we’re going to need to accept Odsonne Edouard won’t stay for much longer.

The French goalscoring sensation has most recently been linked to a cut-price move to Leicester City [Daily Mail]. Earlier this week, it was Arsenal after him. Whatever Celtic did to either club, who have nicked our top talents over the last few years, is hard to say.

There’s also the possibility that Juventus or Roma could be in for the Gallic goal machine. French Eddy has been an absolute sensation for Celtic, there’s no doubt. If he does indeed move for just £15m, with a 40% sell-on fee owed to PSG, then it’s bad times all-round.

The campaign to replace Odsonne Edouard must continue in earnest, though. Earlier this season, we touted Danish striker Kasper Junker for a move to Celtic. However, there’s another option in a league perhaps more familiar to Bhoys supporters, given our tendency to loan players over there.

Because, in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League, a 6’7″ striker named Paul Onuachu is absolutely causing it. The 7-cap Nigerian has scored 24 goals in 28 league games. He’s also laid on two assists for KRC Genk, who sit third in the Belgian top-flight [BBC].

Paul Onuachu celebrates scoring for former club FC Midtjylland. (Photo by HENNING BAGGER/AFP via Getty Images)


A ready-made Odsonne Edouard replacement? Meet Paul Onuachu

With his towering height, there’s an obvious advantage there. Onuachu wins a remarkable 3.8 aerial duels per match [WhoScored], making him an absolute menace from set-pieces.

That’s a threat that Celtic don’t really have from their forwards. Edouard can occasionally header a ball, but it’s not an attribute. Griffiths, Klimala and Ajeti aren’t amazing in the air, either.

More than that though, his finishing is excellent. At 26, Onuachu has scored goals in bundles for FC Midtjylland and KRC Genk, who he joined in 2019. Without resorting to “great touch for a big man” rhetoric, his ability to win fouls and his accuracy in shooting are mightily impressive.

As mentioned, he’s an international, winning 7 caps for the Nigerian national team, scoring once. That would help with any potential work permit conflicts, although the next transfer window shouldn’t be too heavily affected by new Home Office rules.

Valued at over £10m by Transfermarkt, Celtic would undoubtedly need to break their own transfer record to sign him. However, with Edouard, Christie and Ajer likely to move on from the club, there should be cash available to send a significant message.

Coming into his prime years, with a frightening goal return this season, Onuachu will be the subject of a great deal of speculation in the summer.

Celtic would do well to put themselves at the front of any queue.

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