Southampton winger Mohamed Elyounoussi has appeared to crush ideas of a permanent move to Celtic after revealing his hopes of a second chance to succeed in England.
The Norwegian international has spent the 2019/20 campaign at Celtic Park. However, injuries have prevented him making the impact he would have wished.
Elyounoussi burst on to the scene in Scotland with seven goals and six assists before a foot injury saw him miss about three months’ of action (Transfermarkt).
However, despite talking up his desire to stay at Celtic until the campaign officially ends, Elyounoussi has said he sees his long-term future elsewhere.
Speaking to the Scottish Sun, he said: “I still have three years left of the contract with Southampton. I want to show a better side of myself than I have done. I hope I can go back there and fight for a place next season but, at the same time, I really want to finish the season at Celtic and win the league.”
No rush to make loan permanent
When fit, Elyounoussi’s figures at Celtic have been decent but hardly outstanding. Against the likes of Mikey Johnston and despite a change in formation, the former Basel man hasn’t had it all his own way.
Celtic would surely be hesitant to seal a permanent deal too. Considering Elyounoussi cost Southampton £16m, according to the BBC, it would be optimistic to think they could sign him for anything less than eight figures.
Taking his season at Parched into account, a fee of that magnitude would be difficult to justify from Celtic’s perspective too.
The only way a permanent deal would be feasible for the Hoops is if the player himself desperately wanted the move – and the desire clearly isn’t there from Elyounoussi.
Celtic’s change to a 3-5-2 formation also seems to have gone against Elyounoussi. Neil Lennon had been playing with wing-backs rather than out-and-out wingers before the league shutdown. Elyounoussi’s importance had certainly waned from the early months of the season.
Another year at least in Scotland could do the player some good. Elyounoussi has shown flashes of brilliance but, when he signed in August, he was touted as someone who would star in Old Firm derbies and European ties. He has failed to achieve either.
Considering injury robbed him of so much of his Celtic spell, another year would hardly be Elyounoussi’s worst option. He may desire to fight for his place down south but he’ll head back to Southampton with the same problem he had when he left last summer – he hasn’t played enough football.
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