Stale Solbakken's Celtic comments a massive blow in Elyounoussi chase

By David Walton

March 25, 2021

Stale Solbakken and his recent comments on Celtic will do us no favours in any bid to sign Mohamed Elyounoussi permanently.

After scoring against Rangers in the Glasgow derby on Sunday, Celtic fans lauded the Norwegian. Many were urging the club to do whatever they can to secure him for good this summer.

However, Elyounoussi, if he was thinking about a permanent switch here, will surely be thinking twice after Solbakken and his assistant Brede Hangeland’s putdown of Scottish football.

Speaking to Norwegian outlet VG over the weekend, Solbakken said the following on Celtic defender Kris Ajer:

“He has to change league now – he must. He does not have enough challenges in everyday life there. Therefore, I think he has got some habits, which you do not notice until he meets better opposition in international matches or Europe. So I think that is a smart move by him.”

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Hangeland would state that he’s told Ajer the need to move on in private phone calls. It appears to be a concerted effort by the Norwegian management to actively move the Celtic man on.

Stale Solbakken doing Celtic no favours

This wasn’t helped by the fact Ajer was dropped for last night’s win in Gibraltar. He was left on the bench whilst Bodo/Glimt defender Marius Lode took his place. Kris also wasn’t one of the five substitutes brought in against the Gibraltese outfit in their opening World Cup qualifying match.

It’ll be interesting to see whether he’s selected for Norway’s next two matches. However, Solbakken’s clear view on Scottish football does us no favours regarding Elyounoussi.

Why on earth would the Southampton man consider coming back when his international boss clearly doesn’t rate the league? If he thinks Ajer has spent enough time in Scotland, his opinion on Moi likely isn’t much different.

Make no mistake, Elyounoussi wouldn’t touch Celtic Park if it tarnished his international ambitions. That’s the same for any player who has an ambition to play for their country.

Moi Elyounoussi scores against Rangers (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

He’s seeing comments from his international boss and assistant degrading Scottish football. So that’s bound to have an affect on how he views a potential permanent switch to Scotland.

Even if he thrives here like Ajer has, it doesn’t matter. Solbakken clearly has a snobby view of the pressures that actually come with playing for Celtic. Quite ironic he has a go at Ajer’s “habits” whilst the rest of his superstars could only win 3-0 in Gibraltar.

So these comments are disappointing in more ways than one. And, when it comes to Elyounoussi’s thought process, they may have dealt us a big blow.

In other news, a report has claimed that Celtic have opened talks with a managerial contender.