Neil Lennon might have surprised a few people with his team selection for the Europa League fixture against Cluj when he restored Mohamed Elyounoussi to the starting line-up of the Celtic side.
However, the move paid off as Elyounoussi performed excellently, scoring his first Hoops goal in the 2-0 win. The player was full of energy and also worked hard tracking back.
You don’t always expect that of an attacking player, but Elyounoussi worked very hard. It is easy to see why Southampton spent £16 million on the player.
Fans and manager will want loan deal made permanent
Celtic fans will have been heartened by the player’s performance. They will want the loan deal to be turned into a permanent one. That is something that Neil Lennon would no doubt agree with. After all, he has selected the player to start both of the Hoops’ Europa League group stage fixtures so far.
However, reports claimed that the loan deal that brought Elyounoussi to the club in the first place did not include an option to buy at the end of the season.
It would be a blow for the Hoops if they could not persuade Elyounoussi to stay at the club on a permanent basis. You would imagine that the player would like to stay at the club – he is playing on a regular basis after all.
Loan club may not want to sell
However, Southampton might not want to sell the player. Still, Celtic must explore every avenue they can to get the player to commit to the club on a permanent basis.
If that means breaking the club’s transfer record, then so be it. Too many players have left the Hoops recently for big money. It is time some of that money was spent on new signings.
Therefore, the Hoops must pull out all the stops to get the player to sign up for more than one season. It would be a real boost going forward.