If reports in various media outlets are to be believed, Celtic’s 22-year-old French striker Odsonne Edouard could be on the move this summer, with Arsenal leading the chase for the France U-21 international. He is valued at around £30 million by the Celtic hierarchy, with the likes of Leicester City and Everton also sniffing about. Crucially though, the player himself is apparently in no rush to leave Celtic Park, which might make all the difference regarding the viability of a deal being struck in the summer.
Edouard has been prolific this season, having scored 28 goals in all competitions for the Bhoys, up until the season’s suspension due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With 22 goals in the league, he is comfortably ahead of the second-placed Jermain Defoe, and many betting sites have him as the odds-on favourite to be the top scorer in the league once football resumes in Scotland.
He has also notched 19 assists, making it 47 goal contributions in 46 games, which is a fantastic record. Even accounting for the lower quality of the Scottish league, he has made his mark in Europe as well, with four goals in eight games in the Europa League, and two in five matches in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League. He could well replicate the path that Moussa Dembele blazed before him, with his countryman now excelling at Olympique Lyon, having scored more than 20 goals for two consecutive seasons now.
Edouard is similar in style to Dembele, and so there is no reason to think that he cannot do as well, or even better than his compatriot. Additionally, with a move to the Emirates, Edouard would have the chance to play alongside and learn from one of the best in the business, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Aubameyang, who recently became the fastest Gunner to the 50-goal mark, reaching it quicker than Thierry Henry, may be on the wrong side of 30, but still has a few good years left in the tank, and could pass on some invaluable knowledge to Edouard. We can already see his influence on Gabriel Martinelli – the young Brazilian has thrived this season whenever given the chance for Arsenal, and Aubameyang seems to have a good rapport with him both on and off the field. With Alexandre Lacazette rumoured to be leaving North London in the summer, Arsenal will be in the market for a striker, and Edouard could fit the bill perfectly. Aubameyang will be the senior pro, with Edouard, Martinelli, and potentially Eddie Nketiah forming his youthful backup. Arsenal have good relations with Celtic, as evidenced by the recent transfer of Kieran Tierney down south, and if Edouard shows any inclination towards leaving the Bhoys, one would think that the Gunners would be in pole position to sign him.
Edouard has been superb in his time at Celtic Park, ably filling the gap created by Dembele’s move to Lyon. However, it may be that he has outgrown the Scottish league, and Arsenal would provide a good environment for the French striker to continue his development while playing at a much higher level, especially if the Gunners can make a late dash and qualify for the Champions League.