Aston Villa midfielder Trezeguet states Celtic could've had him

By Euan Davidson

June 29, 2021

Aston Villa winger Trezeguet claims he was close to signing for Celtic.

The Egyptian, who is also known by the name Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim Hassan, spoke about joining the Villains in a £8.75m deal in 2019 [BBC]. The former Al Ahly attacker, who also starred in Turkey with Kasimpasa, was close to joining the Bhoys earlier in his career, in quotes via the Sun.

Trezeguet said [Sun]:

“When I decided I was going to go to Europe, there were a lot of clubs who were interested.

“One of them was Celtic and I was going to sign for them, but the deal was never completed because of the poor financial compensation the Scottish club offered Al Ahly.

“Instead, I ended up signing for Anderlecht instead. They made an appropriate effort to sign me on loan with the right financial outlay and I signed for them permanently eventually.

“That move didn’t really work out for me and I ended up joining Mouscron on loan and then had a choice whether to move to Aston Villa or clubs in Italy and I am pleased I chose to go to England.

“But I could have been a Celtic player before then.”

Now 26, the curiously named Trezeguet, could’ve been a steal for Celtic in 15-16. However, at the time, the Bhoys were well-stocked in the wing positions. James Forrest, Gary Mackay-Steven, Patrick Roberts, Ryan Christie and youth talents like Michael Duffy were waiting for their chance.

No point crying over lost opportunities; although Trezeguet could’ve been more than useful for Celtic

The thing that will get lost here is that this was about a half a decade ago.

While Trezeguet was a decent prospect at the time, he only managed 11 goal contributions from 31 outings during his last season for Al Ahly [Transfermarkt]. Promising, yes. But Celtic clearly had an upper limit to what they were going to spend on him.

What it does show is that Celtic have been looking at more “obscure” markets for a long time. We say “obscure” in the sense that knowledge of foreign leagues, from a UK perspective, pales in comparison to our European neighbours. Anyone with a keen eye on international football knows how big a deal Al Ahly are.

Trezeguet on the ball for Al Ahly in 2015 / (Photo by Ahmed smail/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Now, it’s not to say Trezeguet couldn’t have been good at Celtic. Unless you have access to a crystal ball, nobody can really say with any certainty how he might’ve done. So, there’s the temptation to list this next to Ivan Toney and John McGinn. However, it’s not as clear-cut as that.

He was extremely useful in Turkey and at Mouscroun in the Jupiler Pro League, though. And, Trezeguet is now a very decent option for Aston Villa. Yes, it’s another example of Celtic not doing enough to snare potentially exciting talent. However, realistically, the club have to have limits on how much they spend for players they can’t say will be an automatic success at the club.

A good sign for the future, at least?

We can’t sign everyone. And there isn’t even certainty that he would’ve been an automatic pick under Ronny Deila. However, again, it does show that the net was cast further than we might’ve thought at the time. And it’s also useful to know that Deila, an unorthodox choice at the time, had a broader knowledge of players from around the world.

It’s a good sign that Celtic are willing to take ideas from managers with an “unusual” path to the Bhoys’ dugout. Surely, Postecoglou has his own ideas on players we were unlikely to consider otherwise.

Ultimately, far more transfer bids are unsuccessful than they are a hit. So, this isn’t anything to get too upset about; our scouts identified a promising African talent and we couldn’t get it over the line. If it’s any scant consolation, it’s evidence that our scouts and our club have been thinking outside of the normal transfer parameters, though.

And that bodes well for our new boss.

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