Odsonne Edouard has revealed his friendship with new strike partner Moussa Dembele has helped Celtic’s record signing finally to begin fulfilling his potential in Glasgow.
Edouard, pictured, arrived on a season-long loan from Paris St Germain as a 19-year-old last summer but took his time to make an impact. Only 13 of his 29 appearances were from the start and his tally of 11 goals saw him trail behind Scott Sinclair, James Forrest, Dembele, Leigh Griffiths and Callum McGregor on the leader board.
Yet, towards the end of that campaign, two performances against Rangers highlighted his qualities. With Celtic down to 10 men and drawing 2-2 at Ibrox in March, Edouard came off the bench to score a stunning winner and followed that with a brace in the 5-0 rout of their city rivals in the title decider at Parkhead.
Manager Brendan Rodgers had seen enough not only to persuade his board to spend a club record £10 million to make his move permanent but to abandon his preference for 4-2-3-1 by playing Edouard alongside Dembele, a pairing which already looks greater than the sum of its parts.
“I have a very good relationship with Moussa,” said Edouard. “We understand each other very well outside football, but also on the field. I think that’s very important for the team. Of course, it helps to have a good friendship with him. It’s the same with every player, the same with Olivier Ntcham and the rest of the guys in the team. I have a good relationship with them all. We enjoy the performances and take a lot of pleasure in playing a good game. The coach has already set us a style and a strategy. We respect that strategy and his plans. I really enjoy the football here.”
Edouard broke his European duck by scoring the opening goal in the 3-0 victory over Alashkert earlier this month but realises visitors Rosenborg, even under new management, will provide a sterner challenge in the first leg of the second Champions League qualifying round on Wednesday.
“The Champions League is very, very important for the club,” he said. “It’s one of the main objectives to reach the group stage. Hopefully, over the two legs we will get the goals and qualify.”
However, Edouard insists that maintaining domestic dominance is his priority. He made enough appearances to qualify for a championship medal but missed the Scottish Cup final victory through injury and was not even stripped for the earlier BetFred Cup final success.
“My main objective for the season is to win the three trophies, like we did last season – I don’t think of anything else at the moment,” he said.