Four things Celtic fans should know about Odsonne Edouard

Odsonne Edouard is unveiled by Celtic. Picture: SNS Group
Odsonne Edouard is unveiled by Celtic. Picture: SNS Group
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Celtic completed the season-long loan signing of French striker Odsonne Edouard late last night as Brendan Rodgers bolstered his attacking options.

The Frenchman will wear the number 22 shirt, and has already said he’s ‘absolutely delighted’ to be joining Celtic - ‘one of the world’s truly great football clubs’.

Here are four things Hoops fans should know about the striker...

He’s scored for fun at youth level for club and country

Edouard has only registered one goal so far at senior level, but his goalscoring exploits at youth level should make Celtic fans sit up and take notice.

The Guiana-born forward was snapped up by Paris Saint-Germain in 2011, after he was spotted playing for amateur side AF Bobigny.

Edouard battles for the ball with Riccardo Marchizza of Roma during a UEFA Youth League match in March 2016. Picture: Getty Images

Edouard battles for the ball with Riccardo Marchizza of Roma during a UEFA Youth League match in March 2016. Picture: Getty Images

Edouard joined PSG’s Academy, and by the 2013/14 season, he was turning out for the Under-17 team at the age of 15. During that season he netted 25 goals in 22 appearances.

READ MORE - Done deal: Celtic sign PSG striker Odsonne Edouard on loan

The following season he picked up where he had left off, scoring 22 goals in 14 matches for the Under-17s, as well as notching 15 in 12 for the France Under-17 side, and chipped in with seven goals in 10 games for PSG’s Under-19 side. His prowess in front of goal prompted PSG to tie him down on a long-term deal once he turned 18, with Edouard under contract until 2019 at the Parc des Princes.

On top of his raft of goals, Edouard - nicknamed ‘The Rocket’ - won both the Golden Boy and Golden Boot awards at the 2015 UEFA Under-17 European Championships. Finishing the tournament as top scorer with eight goals in five games - a tournament record - Edouard netted a hat-trick in the final as France defeated Germany 4-1, and also scored in a 5-0 drubbing of a Scotland side featuring Celtic quartet Jack Aitchison, Regan Hendry, Mark Hill and Calvin Miller.

Edouard wheels away after netting for France Under-17s. Picture: Getty Images

Edouard wheels away after netting for France Under-17s. Picture: Getty Images

He also netted against Leicester City in the International Champions Cup in July last year, and is free to face his parent club in the Champions League group stages owing to the same UEFA rules that allowed Patrick Roberts to face Manchester City last season.

He’s not been short of admirers

Despite his success at youth level, Edouard has yet to make an impact at senior level. A loan spell at Toulouse last season yielded just one goal in 17 appearances, although his time at the Stade Municipal was cut short after a police incident (more on that later). However, sources within the French media speculated as recently as last month that Edouard could be added to the PSG first-team squad for some matches this season, before Celtic moved for the striker.

But the 19-year-old was reportedly a target for both Liverpool and Manchester United two years ago, wth both teams sending scouts to run the rule over the player in UEFA Youth League matches. In November 2015, PSG Under-19 boss Francois Rodriguez described Edouard as a two-footed, powerful and instinctive striker, good in the air and with exceptional ability who was improving all the time.

Edouard vies with Dijon defender Yunis Abdelhamid during a Ligue 1 match in December 2016. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Edouard vies with Dijon defender Yunis Abdelhamid during a Ligue 1 match in December 2016. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

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That Celtic managed to secure an option to buy Edouard outright shows how highly Rodgers rates the striker, and with frequent transfer speculation linking Moussa Dembele with a move away from Parkhead, it’s not entirely outwith the realms of possibility that the Hoops boss is keen to judge whether Edouard could replace his countryman if the former Fulham youngster eventually departs Celtic.

He’s more than just a striker

Although Edouard will have been signed largely as cover and competition for Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths, he should provide an extra dimension for Rodgers if necessary.

Primarily an out-and-out striker, he could quite easily play the centre-forward role alongside another striker in a 4-4-2 / 3-5-2 set-up, or as a lone striker in Rodgers’ favoured 4-2-3-1 formation.

However, he is at his best with the ball at his feet as shown in video footage of PSG’s youth sides.

But reports in France suggest he could also fill in on the wing in an emergency, and while the return of Roberts as well as the summer signing of Jonny Hayes and first-choice winger James Forrests means Celtic aren’t exactly short of right-sided options, Edouard’s adaptability could be useful if injuries and suspensions take their toll as the season progresses.

He was sacked by Toulouse after an ‘airgun incident’

In August 2016, Edouard was sent on loan to PSG’s fellow Ligue 1 side Toulouse in the hopes he could gain vital experience at senior level.

However, he was sent back to Paris in disgrace in April 2017 after 17 appearances and a solitary goal following an airgun incident in February.

A man claimed he had been injured in Toulouse city centre after a car pulled up alongside him and an airgun was fired from the window, with Edouard’s car later being identified from CCTV footage.

Edouard denied the accusations at the time, claiming his team-mate Mathieu Cafaro was guilty - even though Edouard had initially admitted the charge, before Cafaro confessed to firing the gun.

But when he was called as a witness to Edouard’s trial, Cafaro denied ever being in the car at all.

Both players were sacked by Toulouse with Edouard being handed a suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay a fine of around €6000 as well as €2600 in damages to the victim.