Having just watched arguably the most important season in decades blow up in their face, Celtic fans face a nightmare 2021 summer. The squad will be changed almost entirely, with a new management team, coaching structure and playing staff. Long-term captain Scott Brown will leave, whilst key cogs in the team such as Kristoffer Ajer and Calum McGregor are likely to head for the exit. The most likely big exit, though, will be for Odsonne Edouard.
The French striker has long been linked with a move away from Celtic, more or less since he arrived permanently from Paris Saint-Germain. However, his poor form this season and his inconsistency across various European campaigns has left outsiders wondering at what level Edouard is truly at. With his contract nearly running down, too, it looks like Celtic might need to accept something closer to £20m than the £30m+ fee hoped for in the past.
This is what happens when players at Celtic fail to dominate domestically and show-up in Europe; their value plummets. The clubs looking at them change. In the past, it was giants such as Arsenal and Milan were most commonly linked. Today, though, the most likely move appears to be to the Midlands with Brendan Rodgers.
The former Celtic coach, who was behind Edouard’s meteoric rise in Glasgow, sees the Frenchman as the ideal foil for his other strikers. His arrival would give Leicester another quality young talent to build around, and someone who could give Jamie Vardy crucial rest time. With a likely European campaign set to start next year in the group stages, Leicester will need to give as much rest as they can to their veterans.
The young Frenchman, though, would offer just what is being searched for.
Will Celtic replace Edouard?
While Leicester will almost certainly land their main target, they could have had him a year earlier. Indeed, last summer there was major interest in bringing Edouard to Leicester. However, the failure of Celtic to secure then-Peterborough United striker Ivan Toney put paid to that move taking place. Instead, the arrival of Alban Ajeti left the Hoops with a different profile of striker entirely.
Having failed to fire in his debut season, and failing to link up properly with Edouard, both moves look like a major mistake. Celtic will now collect a fraction of the fee they could have earned for Edouard if they had sold last summer, and could also now have Toney as a premium rate forward leading the line.
Instead, they are left with an unfit striker, an exciting Edouard, and the likely exit of Leigh Griffiths as well. Given they were being hailed as an example of how to do business outside of the major leagues, the massive drop-off in form and in value for the stars at Celtic provide a very cautionary tale.
Now, it looks like a trophyless season is going to be followed up by some major sales – and the likelihood of equal talent replacements is almost slim to none. For some fans, too, the loss of a marquee talent to Leicester – who poached Rodgers in 2019 – will simply add an even more bitter taste to proceedings.