Celtic are on the verge of signing 19-year-old midfielder Kouassi Eboue after agreeing a £2.8million transfer fee with Russian Premier League side Krasnodar.
Here is everything you need to know about the young Ivorian...
His rapid rise came out of nowhere
There was very little known about Eboue when Krasnodar completed his signing in 2014 as they plucked him from the youth squad at Armenian club Shirak. Initially he spent time in the reserve side before becoming a mainstay of the matchday squad towards the end of last season. Even still, he wasn’t expected to make much of an impact this campaign, having made only one first-team appearance. Instead, some impressive performances in the Europa League cemented his place in the team and he’s featured 18 times in all competitions thus far, starting 15 of those games.
He even managed to get a goal, his only for the club so far, in a freak incident against Birkirkara - the Maltese team that eliminated Hearts from the Europa League. Eboue put the opposing centre-back under pressure with a high press and was rewarded for his hard work when the attempted clearance rebounded off him and landed in the back of the net.
In terms of the current squad, he’s a cross between Bitton and McGregor
Eboue is most comfortable playing at the defensive midfielder spot, where he looks to protect the back four. Like Nir Bitton, he is over 6ft in height with a wiry frame, though at only 19 Eboue will be expected to fill out a little as time goes on.
While he does tend to play the safe pass in possession, he does like to run forward with the ball when the opportunity presents itself, which is more in common with Callum McGregor or Stuart Armstrong. Out of possession, he resembles McGregor in the sense that he displays more quickness and urgency in his closing down of opponents.
At present, he’s typically used further back, but the sense is that he could develop into an all-round midfielder, capable of impacting the game at both ends of the park.
He threw a tantrum after being sent off
It’s a clip that’s already been widely shared since the impending signing was first announced last night. Eboue, in a Russian league game, was shown a straight red card for tussling with an opposing player at a set-piece. When the referee gave him his marching orders, the youngster threw himself to the ground, punching the turf in a child-like tantrum.
It’s not a great look for the incoming star, but he’s still very young and inexperienced. To make sweeping judgements of his character based on a regretful few seconds of video clip would be unfair.
He requires a work permit
He doesn’t own a duel EU passport so Celtic will have to secure a work permit for the player. Work permits are granted if a player has featured in 75 per cent of their country’s competitive matches over the last two years. While the 19-year-old has already made it to the Ivory Coast national team squad, he’s yet to make it on to the field. However, Celtic fans shouldn’t be too worried about this potential stumbling block. The initial application will likely be rejected, but on appeal the club will have a chance to present their case as to why Eboue will improve the standard of Scottish football. They’ve been successful in many such cases over the years. If they managed to get one for Koki Mizuno, they should have little trouble here.