Odsonne Edouard: Is Celtic striker destined for the Premier League?

Charlie Nicholas, Kris Boyd, Andy Walker and Kaveh Solhekol analyse the Celtic forward, who has been heavily linked with Arsenal

Odsonne Edouard celebrates scoring for Celtic against Motherwell

Odsonne Edouard is once again being linked with a move away from Celtic, but is he destined for the Premier League? The Sky Sports pundits have their say.

The 22-year-old forward has been heavily linked with a move to England and the Daily Express reported last week that Arsenal are the frontrunners, but would have to pay over £25m for the Frenchman.

But is Edouard good enough for the Premier League? Would he fit at Arsenal and would he be a replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?

Sky Sports pundits Charlie Nicholas, Kris Boyd and Andy Walker plus Sky Sports News' Kaveh Solhekol have been assessing Edouard's talent and a potential transfer...

Who is Edouard?

Paris Saint-Germain forward Odsonne Edouard celebrates his goal during their International Champions Cup (ICC) football game at StubHub Center in Carson, C
Image: The striker began his career at PSG, but never made a senior appearance for the club

Born in French Guiana, Edouard spent his youth career in Paris Saint-Germain's academy. He began to catch the eye when he scored 60 goals between 2013 and 2015 with the U17 and U19 squads, and in January 2016, he won the Titi d'Or award for the best academy player that season.

In April 2016, he signed his first professional contract at PSG and played in the International Champions Cup in pre-season, but never made a competitive senior appearance for the club. He was loaned out to Toulouse for the 2016/17 campaign, but this was ended abruptly when he was involved in an incident where a passer-by was injured with an airsoft gun.

After a difficult period at Toulouse and his career at PSG stalling, Edouard arrived at Celtic on a season-long loan for the following season. He scored on his debut in a 4-1 win against Hamilton and made his first Champions League appearance a few days later - in a 5-0 defeat against his parent club. He went on to score 11 goals with four assists in his first season with Celtic.

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New Celtic signing Odsonne Edouard
Image: Odsonne Edouard initially signed for Celtic on loan before making the move permanent the following summer

In June 2018, Edouard signed a permanent, four-year deal at Celtic, helping them to a historic Scottish treble treble with 22 goals and eight assists in all competitions.

His form has only improved in the current campaign. He already has 28 goals with 14 assists for the 2019/20 season and manager Neil Lennon said in February: "He is an outstanding footballer. He looks like he is playing in the streets at times, he makes it look easy but it's not.

"He is deceptively strong, deceptively quick and he's got brilliant feet, and he's as cool as a cucumber. So we are delighted with the form he is in... There's no doubt this is his best season and he's only going to get better."

The Moussa Dembele comparisons

Odsonne Edouard has been compared to his former team-mate, Moussa Dembele
Image: Odsonne Edouard has been compared to his former team-mate, Moussa Dembele

Many have compared Edouard to former Celtic striker and fellow Frenchman Moussa Dembele, with Edouard filling his shoes when Dembele moved to Lyon in August 2018.

Speaking about Edouard's talent and comparing the two, Charlie Nicholas said: "Edouard is a very good technical player. There's been comparisons with Dembele, who has now been linked with Chelsea for £40m-50m, and I look back at the balance of what Edouard has compared to Dembele.

"Dembele is a more aggressive character and is better in the air, whereas Edouard is a more laid-back individual. He's good with both feet and he's 6ft 1in so aerially he could be a threat. But he doesn't really play that way.

"He will score a few headers because his physicality is good, but he's more about link-up play, getting the ball into his feet, turning defenders. He will run in behind on the shoulder of defenders.

"Of course he could make it in the Premier League, but he would need to be playing in a team structure that has a lot of the ball. At Celtic, they have it 75-80 per cent of the time. That's why he's become such a marketed product.

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Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard makes the difference for Neil Lennon's side, according to Andy Walker

"He's had his best goalscoring season and he's scored quite a few in Europe so you are not just judging him on his tally in Scottish football. In the last six months, we have seen that defenders have tried to get physical by kicking him, we have seen him start to react in a good way.

"Before, he might go missing for 20 or 25 minutes, but now when that happens, he gets agitated and tries even harder. As a result, he's become Celtic's key player and best by a distance. He will leave Celtic.

"Some people are suggesting he'll stay on next season as Celtic go in search of 10 titles in a row. People up north get so bogged down by it, but Edouard is now reaching a side of his career at 22 where, like Dembele, he will be looking at who are interested in signing him."

Boyd: Edouard will go right to the top in England

Celtic's Odsonne Edouard makes it 1-0 against Livingston
Image: Odsonne Edouard has already scored 27 times this season

With plenty of Premier League interest, the question everyone will be asking is if Edouard can make the step up, but Boyd has no doubts about his ability to make it in England's top flight.

Speaking in a recent Scottish Player of the Year podcast for Sky Sports, he said: "He's the outstanding player in the league - a class apart. There's talk of him going to a mid-table team in England but he should just cut them out and go straight to the top with any of the big guns.

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"He's got everything. He glides past defenders as if they are not there. He's got skill, although perhaps one criticism can be his finishing, he tries to place everything in the corners. He's not from the same finishing school as someone like Leigh Griffiths but in terms of the all round package, he's the best player in Scotland.

"Yes, he has the supply line from his team-mates but you've got to get into those positions. He'll go right to the top in England - he doesn't need to prove himself in that regard. If I was Celtic I would hold out for a record-breaking fee as he'll surpass the £20m for Dembele. He's destined for the top."

Will a move definitely be on the cards?

Odsonne Edouard in action for Celtic
Image: The 22-year-old still has two years left on his current Celtic deal

In a recent Transfer Centre Q&A, Sky Sports News reporter Solhekol was asked about a potential Edouard move, and threw another potential suitor into the mix.

He said: "Edouard is not necessarily going anywhere. He's had a great season, scoring 27 times, and he's only 22 so it's not surprising other clubs are looking at him closely. He's got two years left on his Celtic contract and he could sign a new deal.


"The biggest fee that a Scottish club have ever received for a player is the £25m Arsenal paid Celtic for Kieran Tierney last summer. Someone would need to offer more than that for Celtic to be tempted to do business and that kind of money is unlikely to be flying round the transfer market during the next window.

"Leicester have been watching him closely and Brendan Rodgers knows all about him from his time managing Celtic.

"Celtic have had to sell players like Virgil van Dijk and Dembele. It would be good to see them hold onto Edouard for as long as possible."

Nicholas: Edouard would suit Arsenal

Celtic's Odsonne Edouard (R) celebrates his goal against with Jeremie Frimpong
Image: Odsonne Edouard needs service to succeed, says Charlie Nicholas

Scaling thing down even further, would Edouard even be right for Arsenal? Charlie Nicholas thinks so, but is cautious about where he could play and how he could adapt.

He said: "Edouard could certainly play at Arsenal because the way they play, his style would be more than suitable for it. The problem is getting the judgement right over whether he's ready right now, playing every week for Arsenal compared to who is there already. I'm a big fan of Alexandre Lacazette, and Edouard has got quite a bit of Lacazette in style within his game.

"He certainly would not come to England straightaway and score 20 to 25 goals in a season unless Arsenal find a renewed belief and they get the whole team right. It's got potential, absolutely, but I'm not convinced that they will go and buy him. The reason is that in Scotland, Celtic are gauging him as a £40m player.

"This will come down to what Edouard wants. If he wants to leave, then he will leave. Celtic will take the cash rather than have a player who is not committed to the cause because historically that's what they have done - with Dembele, Van Dijk and Tierney.

"He has to go to a side that plays him. He can play with a partner and he can play on his own, but he must play in a team that's going to give him a lot of service. If he plays in a side that sometimes gets 40 per cent of possession, he will find it really tough to adapt.

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Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has revealed the club are preparing for various scenarios regarding their activity in the transfer window once it opens

"His attitude has improved sufficiently enough to tell me he will become a top player but I am not quite convinced teams will yet be looking at him as a £40m player. But the current market, with the coronavirus likely to impact the value of players, this will play a crucial part.

"Although the big clubs have big money, it's been pulled in. Football is going to take a short-term kicking, financially, and a lot of clubs are going to be re-assessing their transfer budgets. Clubs may have to accept what they have in many cases, and only spend sparingly. The timing could put any move into jeopardy."

'Edouard not an Aubameyang replacement'

Image: Could Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pave the way for Odsonne Edouard's Arsenal move?

It is easy to see a connection. Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is being linked with a move away, while Edouard looks to be targeted as his replacement, but Nicholas does not think he would be a like-for-like swap.

"There's been a lot of talk of Aubameyang being sold, but Edouard would not be the answer," he said. "He plays differently, more like Lacazette. Aubameyang is about pace and movement. Although he likes to play the No 9 role, he does not play it as well as Edouard could. Similarly, Edouard could not play in the position that Aubameyang does, out wide on the left.

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Sky Sport Italia reporter Gianluca Di Marzio provides an update on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future amid reports of interest from Inter Milan

"He wants to be the key figurehead of the team as the link man through the middle. For that reason, I do not see Arsenal targeting him as a replacement for Aubameyang. Arsenal are in a horrible position when it comes to sorting out Aubameyang's contract offer. Barcelona and Real Madrid have been mentioned and they have the funds to buy him.

"Edouard is too similar to Lacazette, and if he was to move, it paints a different picture. Edouard would then fit into the Arsenal team as the No 9. You would still need to give him time as he's not been playing every week against Premier League quality."

Walker: How much of a fee would he command?

Virgil van Dijk
Image: Scottish football has had talent like Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson and John McGinn make it the Premier League

Speaking in a recent Scottish Player of the Year podcast for Sky Sports, Andy Walker mused over what kind of fee Edouard could command given the other talent to have been sold by the club in recent years.

"The market has changed recently as Celtic have managed to get huge fees for players like Dembele," he said.

"It makes me wonder how much of a fee Eduourd will attract - playing European football helps when he's performing well there and for the French U21s.

"I think there's a realisation in England that the talent is there. Virgil van Dijk played in Scotland for years and nobody fancied him until Southampton got him and he made the step to Liverpool. Andy Robertson was the same and John McGinn is a perfect example. As soon as he got settled after 20 games for Aston Villa, there was talk of him moving to Manchester United.

"There is now general acceptance that Scottish football isn't as bad as some first thought.

"There are players that can thrive in the competitive environment and is a good stage for them to showcase their talent. Players seem happy to come to Scotland and make it a stepping stone to bigger clubs with more money. Most Scottish clubs accept that.

"Most Celtic fans would agree with me when I say Edouard has been the most influential player in the league. He steps up on the big occasion, scores important goals, links the play and is so good in possession."

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