Celtic open contract talks with Odsonne Edouard

‘We’re doing everything we can to keep him here for at least one more season,’ says Neil Lennon

Celtic's Odsonne Edouard scored 28 goals in an abridged season. Picture: SNS
Celtic's Odsonne Edouard scored 28 goals in an abridged season. Picture: SNS

Neil Lennon has revealed talks have begun on a contract extension for Odsonne Edouard.

An agreement on improved terms for the Frenchman, reported to be interesting Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, is being sought by Celtic to provide insurance that the striker will remain for the club’s bid to capture an unprecedented tenth straight title.

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The Celtic manager is determined that Edouard will be part of his squad when pre-season begins next month ahead of the proposed August start to the 2020-21 campaign.

Lennon is hopeful of taking the team abroad for a training camp despite the curtailment of cross-border movement imposed as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Edouard chose not to return to his homeland when other foreign players did so as the country entered lockdown in late March and Lennon hopes that is an indication of his prized asset’s contentment in Glasgow.

“There are ongoing discussions at the minute with his [Edouard’s] representatives,” said Lennon of the 22-year-old, who netted 28 goals in the abridged campaign. “Ultimately he’s a player we want around.

“He’s a fantastic player. He’s really blossomed over the last couple of seasons. He had a magnificent season this year and we want to keep him. It’s as simple as that.

“We’re doing everything we can to keep him here for at least another season anyway. I think he is happy here. I think he’s got a fantastic relationship certainly with me and my backroom team and his team-mates. You can see how much the supporters appreciate him as well. I think that’s reciprocated. He’s grown into a top-class striker.

“Of course there is going to be speculation around a player of that quality. But we’re comfortable at the minute with the position we’re in with him. He seems pretty happy and we’re all looking forward to seeing him at training. We’d love to discuss things with him and a few other players as well.”

Chief among these others is Fraser Forster. It was reported this week that Celtic would seek another season-long loan for the goalkeeper. Forster is contracted to Southampton on a £70,000-a-week wage for the next two years which rules out a permanent deal.

“[A loan for Forster] is one that obviously we would like to do but we will need to take a steer off Southampton on that,” said Lennon. “Whether we can or not is another thing. It will be down to Southampton but it is certainly an avenue that we would like to pursue.”

Lennon, meanwhile, believes it is feasible for Celtic – who will return to training on Thursday – to go abroad next month. He says so while mindful of quarantine rules .

“Initially we will be training in small groups which is fine. Then we may look to go away to a training camp,” he said. Asked if that could mean going abroad, Lennon replied: “It could do, yes. We are pursuing a couple of avenues that may be possible. That would maybe allow us into training in bigger groups which is obviously very important in your preparation for the new season.”

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