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Odsonne Edouard: Profile of Celtic and former PSG striker shining in SPFL

Celtic have developed a reputation for developing talent. Historically one of Britain’s biggest clubs, it’s of course an attractive destination for young players. The SPFL, although considered by most outside of Scotland as uncompetitive, provides the perfect environment for prospects to grow before leaving for the elite European leagues. The likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Victor Wanyama, Kieran Tierney and Moussa Dembele are all recent examples of players who performed for The Bhoys before leaving for pastures new. Could Odsonne Edouard be the latest addition to that list?

The 22 year old has had an excellent season in the Scottish top tier. He’s built on his previous two seasons with Celtic and is comfortably the league’s best striker this season. The Frenchman is 8 GOALS ahead of the next highest scorer Jermain Defoe. Credit to Defoe though still banging them in at 37 years old! Yet Edouard’s form hasn’t gone unnoticed with the Daily Mail reporting that Tottenham, Leicester and Everton are all reportedly interested in signing the star. Suggestions are he would cost at least £30 million.

Background

After coming through the PSG youth academy set up, Odsonne Edouard couldn’t break into the French side’s senior team. Yet that wasn’t a reflection of his ability. It’s not easy when you’ve got Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani in front of you to be fair.

The striker was incredibly highly rated in the youth leagues. More than 60 goals for the Parisians’ U17 and U19 youth sides in 2 years helped them finish runners up in the 2015/16 UEFA Youth League. Not to mention, his instrumental role in France U17’s UEFA European Championship triumph. Edouard was the tournament’s top scorer and most valuable player. In other words, he was doing everything he could whilst not breaking into the PSG side.

Odsonne Edouard in action for PSG

After an underwhelming loan spell with Toulouse in 2016/17, the France U21 international joined Celtic the following season. 11 goals in all competitions convinced the Scottish giants to make the loan deal permanent. Their all time record signing at £9 million and he hasn’t disappointed since. A large profit on the transfer is on the cards, especially with the interest being generated.

As aforementioned, Edouard is the top flight’s highest scorer in 2019/20. He’s managed a prolific return of 21 goals and 6 assists in just 26 games. 6 more goals than he managed a season before in 6 less games. It’s fair to say he’s too good for the league and it does puzzle you why PSG sold him.

Odsonne Edouard – Style of play

At 6ft 2, Edouard is undoubtedly a huge physical presence. The video highlights how he uses his body and stature to hold up play well as well as create space for teammates. It’s this strength that has allowed him to be an able playmaker for Celtic and manage 6 assists as a striker. 1.3 key passes per game in the Europa League further emphasises this. The height and physicality also make him an obvious aerial threat from set-pieces and crosses.

The Frenchman also has a great turn of pace, making him a nightmare for defenders to deal with. The speed coupled with his physical strength makes him so difficult to push off the ball. In many ways, he ticks the boxes of all the physical characteristics you want from your striker. Moreover, the former Toulouse loanee is good on the dribble for a big guy, averaging 1.5 dribbles per game in the Europa League in 2019/20. The clips show he’s comfortable with the ball at his feet, cutting in and shifting the ball without any difficulty.

Yet alongside the pace and power, Edouard has finesse and technique to his game. Several times in the clips above, he displays great vision and creativity. The flicks around the corner and how good his first touch is reinforces what he brings to the game other than goals. Lots of forwards in the modern day are criticised for not bringing much else other than goals to a team. The PSG youth product definitely doesn’t fit in that category.

Then of course, the goals. There’s obvious technical ability and composure with some of finishes on show in the video above. In particular, the one where he gets the ball in the box, Cruyff turns the defender and stops the ball before placing it beautifully into the bottom right corner. A quality finish and difficult goal executed to perfection. Odsonne Edouard is intelligent too, often looking for the right pass to make to set up a teammate. Or making an effective run in and behind to put himself in a great position for a shot.

Move away beckoning?

“We have had no enquiries for him but I am sure somewhere down the line for a player of that calibre there will be.

Neil Lennon on Edouard’s future at Celtic

The Celtic striker seems like a talented striker and at 22 years old, has potential to be a top player. Premier League clubs are sniffing around him for a reason and there’s no doubt he’ll leave Celtic Park for a big fee. Pace, power, creativity and technique. Not much more you can ask for as a manager from your forward.

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