Celtic’s group of loan players haven’t particularly stood out for the club this season but Mohamed Elyounoussi is almost in a category of his own.
He doesn’t feel like a temporary signing, having already completed a season-long loan last term.
The attacker was part of our nine-in-a-row success, as well as trophy wins in both cup competitions.
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If the deal was right and didn’t cost too much, I’m one of the Celtic fans that definitely wouldn’t be against signing up the Norwegian international on a permanent basis.
However, he remains non-committal on his future and it could take some convincing to give up his lucrative Premier League contract at Southampton, which runs to 2023.
Elyounoussi was the player put in front of broadcast media at Lennoxtown yesterday and, inevitably, he was quizzed on his plans for next season.
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He said [YouTube]: “I haven’t thought much about it yet. We still have games left, the season is not finished. I will think about that when everything is done. My main focus is still here now and to do my best for the club.”
Asked if the tumultuous last few months at Celtic – which have involved pandemic problems, dismal league form and a managerial exit – have changed his mind on his future, Elyounoussi said: “No, not really. I’m coming in every day to do my best in training, become a better player and do my best on the pitch when I get the chance to.
“So, thoughts about my future haven’t changed, I haven’t even thought about it. Like I said, my main focus is still here, now, everyday in training. The time will come to think about the future and the next step.”
Elyounoussi was a £16m signing for Southampton from Basel [The Telegraph]. While they are unlikely to be able to recoup all of that fee if they sell him, they could still command millions of pounds.
It feels unlikely that Celtic would commit to that. Although he’s impressed in bursts, he’s never really managed to string together the consistent form that makes him a first-choice pick in the team.
Recent tactics haven’t helped him, of course, but right now there’s a lot of mileage to cover before a big move for Elyounoussi is completed.
A new manager would have to be happy with it first and foremost. Then the player’s ambitions have to align with the club too. Finally, the money men will have their say and that could ultimately prove insurmountable.
Still, with Elyounoussi keeping an open mind, Celtic should have a similar stance.