‘Easy choice’ as Mohamed Elyounoussi opts for another year with Celtic

Life in Glasgow attracts winger to a further loan spell at Parkhead

Mohamed Elyounoussi could have played for Real Betis next season but has signed up for another year’s loan at Celtic. Picture: SNS.
Mohamed Elyounoussi could have played for Real Betis next season but has signed up for another year’s loan at Celtic. Picture: SNS.

Celtic have retained Mohamed Elyounoussi on another season-long loan.

The Southampton winger hit seven goals in 20 appearances last term in a campaign affected by a foot injury and then cut short by the coronavirus 
pandemic.

But the 25-year-old will get a further chance to impress the Celtic fans after the club confirmed his new loan deal. Reports in Norway last week claimed he had a choice between going on loan to Celtic or Real Betis next season and the wide man has opted to stay in Scotland.

The Norway international was a £16 million signing from Basel in the summer of 2018 but only made 11 starts in his debut season for Southampton.

“I’m very happy,” Elyounoussi told Celtic TV. “It’s a proud moment for myself and my family. We’re very happy in Glasgow. I enjoyed my first year here. I enjoy working with the coaching staff and the players, everyone at the club, so it was an easy choice really.

“Since the league stopped, I got a lot of positive messages from fans. They told me what they thought about me, and for me to take another year, and I have to say, that made the choice even easier.

“It’s hard to say no when you get so many messages and feedback – love from the fans, and obviously I will try to give something back. The fans, of course, are one of the reasons why I’m staying here 
another year.

“It is an interesting season ahead, and I think I can do more than what I did last season,” he admitted. “Obviously, the injury stopped everything for me, so I will try to give even more from myself this year.

“In the end, I just want to talk with my feet. Me and the boys have been working hard in the break. The physical coaches have been doing exceptional work to give us work at home, and we’ve been training well, and now that we’re back training it’s been good and we’re looking forward for the season to start.”

Celtic manager Neil Lennon recently claimed it was not unrealistic that both Elyounoussi and Southampton team-mate Fraser Forster could be back at Parkhead next season.

Forster impressed throughout his season-long loan with Celtic but the goalkeeper has two years left on his Saints deal.

Celtic have also been linked with a potential move for another England goalkeeper, Joe Hart, following his departure from Burnley. The 33-year-old only made three appearances for the Clarets this season, all in the FA Cup.

Scott Bain is the only experienced goalkeeper on Celtic’s books following the departure of Craig Gordon to Hearts.

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