Celtic midfielder Eboue Kouassi is expected to leave the club on loan this month, The Scottish Sun have reported this week.
Suffering a long-term injury in the 2018/19 season, the combative 22-year-old hasn’t played a single match since October 2018.
Having apparently now recovered from that blow and returned to training, he has yet to be utilised by Hoops manager Neil Lennon.
With reports suggesting we’re on the hunt for Ismaila Soro (Sky Sports), it looks like Lennon has alternative plans for the defensive midfield position, so it would make sense that Kouassi heads in the other direction.
His contract does not expire until the summer of 2021, so while there’s still time to make an impact at the club even taking into account a second half of the season loan, there is little indication that he has a future in Glasgow.
Rodgers’ prediction was awful
Kouassi was once a much-hyped arrival at Celtic Park and it wasn’t fuelled by supporters.
Former manager Brendan Rodgers took it upon himself to heap huge praise and expectation on the player’s shoulders with comments in January 2017, suggesting he could one day be a fantastic player for the Scottish champions and comparing him to some of his most celebrated former prospects.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, he said: “Kouassi is one of those young players I look at with the same feeling I had as when I saw a young Philippe Coutinho or Raheem Sterling.
“This boy has that ability. We’ve been aware of him for a while. With players like this, if you pick them up early enough in that migration trail out of Western Africa, a lot of them go to France or Belgium.
“With Eboue there’s talent, but can you match up the other things as well? I don’t think an adaptation to Scotland is going to be a problem. He has left Russia when it’s minus 25 to go to Scotland where it’s minus 15!”
At the time those comments were curious, but the trust in Rodgers being what it was, understandably they excited some supporters. With hindsight, they are plainly ridiculous.
Kouassi has started just 12 times for the club since then and has rarely looked like the elite talent that was he was indicated by Rodgers to be.
Until a player leaves Celtic permanently, I’ll always hold out some sort of hope they can make it in Glasgow. The rise of Ryan Christie is the best example to never write a player off.
Hopefully Kouassi can find his form out on loan if he does indeed move.