Football Expert & Columnist
Andy Walker: Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard can star for a club as big as Manchester United
Andy Walker: "Odsonne Edouard would prove to be a bargain for any of the big boys at the top of the Premier League if they took a chance and signed him now."
Last Updated: 10/08/20 7:32am
Odsonne Edouard could be a "huge success" at any club at the top of the Premier League, says Sky Sports pundit Andy Walker.
In his latest column, Walker discusses the Frenchman's impact at Celtic Park and compares his worth to other players who have gone on to achieve success further south and abroad.
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'Edouard could play anywhere in Europe'
Anyone who watched Celtic open their chase for a 10th successive Scottish Premiership title with a comfortable 5-1 win over Hamilton last weekend would have been drawn to the level of performance of star striker Odsonne Edouard.
A hat-trick on the opening day is headline stuff for any player - but just how good is Edouard? Could he cut it in the Premier League or any of the other big leagues in Europe? What about the international scene; would he score regularly at that level?
I enjoyed a brief chat with former Celtic manager Martin O'Neill on Sunday before he went on air as part of Sky's coverage of the season-opener at Celtic Park, and he was in no doubt that Edouard is the finest striker to wear the Hoops since Henrik Larsson.
"At 22, his game will only improve and I suppose the biggest wish for Celtic fans is that their French Eddy stays as long as the magical Swede Larsson did, but I think it's highly unlikely."
For the avoidance of doubt, that's a massive compliment. Joining O'Neill in the studio was Sky's other guest John Hartson and he scored more than a century of goals for the club. O'Neil also signed Chris Sutton; he too was a huge success, as were the strikers that followed them; Georgios Samaras, Gary Hooper, Kris Commons, Scott McDonald and Leigh Griffiths.
But there's a style and panache about Edouard that sets him apart from the rest. Absolutely, he could play in the Premier League or anywhere else in Europe for that matter. I think he'd be a huge success at one of the top-six clubs in England.
At 22, his game will only improve and I suppose the biggest wish for Celtic fans is that their French Eddy stays as long as the magical Swede Larsson did, but I think it's highly unlikely. Larsson was happy enough to be with Celtic for seven seasons, enjoying one of the best atmospheres that any player could dream about when Celtic are on Champions League duty under the lights in the east end of Glasgow.
Believe me, there's nothing quite like it.
- Celtic 5-1 Hamilton - Match report
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There are plenty of commentators in England who scoff at the level of competition in Scotland, but for Larsson it was enough to satisfy one of Europe's great players before he left for Barcelona and changed the course of the 2006 Champions League final when he came on as a substitute to help the Catalans beat Arsenal 2-1.
Sir Alex Ferguson even had the foresight to turn to him for a short loan spell in 2007 and he helped United secure another title. Celtic have a good record of sourcing untapped talent and it'll be a huge boost to everyone at the club if Edouard is still plying his trade in the Scottish Premiership when this transfer window closes.
A more up-to-date comparison for Edouard would be his fellow Frenchman Moussa Dembele. He played with Celtic under Brendan Rodgers for a couple of years before Lyon paid almost £20million for him. The speculation now is that Dembele could end up at Old Trafford with United forced to pay a massive fee.
In my view, Edouard is every bit as talented, if not more so, and it's easy to imagine him starring for a club as big as Manchester United. Who knows, maybe even Rodgers would like him to help Leicester maintain their ambitions in the top half of the table.
Having watched Newcastle play a few times over the last 12 months, I believe Edouard is a better team player and goalscorer than Joelinton, and the Geordies paid around £40m for him.
Virgil van Dijk and Victor Wanyama both had to go to Southampton from Celtic to prove they could cut it at the demanding level of the Premier League and, eventually, they went on to bigger and better things at Liverpool and Tottenham.
Whilst hoping Edouard stays at Celtic for at least another season, he would prove to be a bargain for any of the big boys at the top of the Premier League if they took a chance and signed him now - he's that good.
Lennon determined to keep Edouard suitors at bay
Speaking on Sunday, Neil Lennon said Celtic will try to "stave off" any admirers of Edouard.
Lennon knows clubs will be paying attention to the 22-year-old but said: "You can't help the attention. It is inevitable. But we will try to stave off any admirers. I am sure there is plenty out there. We love have him having him here and he enjoys being here. He will be well on the radar of clubs before this season.
"He got 27 goals until March last year and I was delighted with that goal return. He has the potential to be anything he wants to be.
"His all-round game, he is a fantastic player. I have worked with different types, Gary Hooper and Leigh Griffiths are great goalscorers. I worked with (Emile) Heskey towards the end of his career and played with him at the start.
"He is up there with any of them, no question and he keeps re-writing his own story at the minute. It is his volume of goals that really pleases me and they were striker's goals. Normally, Odsonne has brilliant individual goals but there were a few tap-ins."
The 2020/21 Scottish Premiership campaign will be a season like no other, according to the new Sky Sports Scottish Football podcast.
Ahead of the new season, which will be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports, Andy Walker and Kris Boyd joined Ian Crocker for a special preview on our new podcast.
Sky Sports - the new home of Scottish football - has announced its plans for the Scottish Premiership season with Eilidh Barbour presenting coverage of up to 48 live matches.
All you need to know...
- Up to 48 games LIVE on Sky Sports
- Coverage will be fronted by Eilidh Barbour
- Joining Andy Walker and Kris Boyd as regular pundits will be Darren Fletcher, James McFadden, Ally McCoist and John Hartson
- New features to enhance the viewing experience, including Sky Sports’ augmented sound element
- All goals will be shown on Sky Sports News from 6pm on a Saturday – first place to see all the goals on TV
- New weekly Scottish football podcast
Regular analyst Kris Boyd will be joined by James McFadden and three new faces on the Sky Sports Scottish Premiership team. Former Rangers, St Johnstone and Kilmarnock striker Ally McCoist, former Scotland and Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher, and former Celtic striker John Hartson will all be part of the Sky coverage throughout the campaign.
The summer transfer window will run for 10 weeks from July 27 and close at 11pm on October 5. A domestic-only window for trades between the Premier League and EFL then runs from October 5 and closes on Friday October 16 at 5pm. Follow all the news and analysis on Sky Sports News and across Sky Sports' digital platforms.