If you’ve been living in Glasgow for the last four years, you’d do well not to have heard of Odsonne Edouard.
However, if you’ve been situated in south London throughout that time – distracted by the rollercoaster that is Crystal Palace – you may not know much about the Frenchman.
86 goals, nine trophies and four individual awards define Edouard’s legacy at Parkhead, but what else is there to know about the 23-year-old?
We spoke to 67 Hail Hail’s Celtic expert John McGinley to find out more about Crystal Palace’s £14m recruit…
“Welcome to We Are Palace John. Firstly, Edouard spent four years with Celtic in total, what were some of his best moments in Glasgow?”
“Well, Odsonne Edouard isn’t a Celtic hero for nothing. Earning that status here usually stems from either doing the business against Rangers, in Europe or in cup finals. Edouard managed all three at various stages of his Celtic career.
“From a sublime winner at Ibrox when we were down to ten men, to a heart pumping Scottish Cup Hampden winner against Hearts, and last-minute goals in league matches – he delivered for us at big moments. His record speaks for itself, seven goals in 14 games against Rangers, 15 goals in 42 European matches. Some of this has been forgotten by some Celtic fans given a drop off in form, but overall he made a huge impact at the club.”
“Very impressive stuff. Specifically, what would you say are Edouard’s best attributes?”
“When he was at his best here, his biggest strength was undoubtedly how alive he came on the ball, dribbling at opposition defences. His close control of the ball is excellent and he’s technically proficient. He’s not a battering ram forward, he’s far more cultured and intelligent than that. In fact, it’s almost subtle at times. He has a very relaxed playing style. Edouard can come deep and play his best football outside of the box. However, he can score consistently too. His best season for us was in 2019/20 when he scored 28 goals and assisted 19. That about sums it up – he’s a composed finisher but also a key creative outlet.”
“On the contrary, what would you say are Edouard’s biggest weaknesses?”
“I don’t think he has any glaring weaknesses in terms of ability. However, it’s fair to say his form did dip at Celtic last season and into this season. Whether those were the circumstances surrounding his future, unhappiness under the former manager or a plateauing in terms of application is something we’ll all be curious to see at Palace. He’s been accused by some Celtic fans of phoning in a number of performances. Certainly when it seems to be going against him in a match, that relaxed playing style I mentioned before can be very frustrating. He’s not a player that will be chasing down opposition defenders and firing up the team in that sense. He likes to be much more involved on the ball and combining with teammates around him.”
“So he’s not exactly a workhorse then it seems. Would you say this style will see Edouard succeed in the Premier League?”
“Truly, he has potential to do so. I reckon he has the natural ability. I know there is snobbery about the Scottish leagues, but really when he was at his peak during the 2019/20 season I’d have fancied him up against most defences. He has impressed against teams such as Lazio, AC Milan, RB Leipzig and RB Salzburg in the past. The fast-paced, open nature of the Premier League could really suit him, because as I’ve said I think that’s when he comes alive. There will be an adjustment in playing different styles of defences – in Scotland Celtic mainly face a packed low block – but I truly think shining and pushing towards the French national team is a possibility.”
“Last but not least, why are Celtic selling Edouard? Is £14m considered quite expensive or a bargain in your eyes?”
“It’s interesting, because this is one of those rare deals that I think is both a great one for the selling club and a bargain for the buying one. The only reason Edouard isn’t moving for a fee north of £20m – 25m is because of his contract status. So in that sense I do think Palace have won a watch. If you consider his closest career comparison to date is Moussa Dembele of Lyon, then I think buying a player of Edouard’s potential for less than £15m is excellent business. Ultimately everyone’s heading into the unknown a bit in terms of whether he can step up or not, but I think Edouard has as good a chance of being a success as any other Celtic player that has left the club for the Premier League over the last decade.”
So, there you have it.
Of course, life in the Premier League will be vastly different to the Scottish Premiership, but it sounds like Edouard has all the tools to be a hero in south London.
You can follow John for more in-depth Celtic analysis here at @jhnmcgnly