Celtic FC Opinion: Hoops should cash in on Eboue Kouassi
According to the Daily Record, Celtic midfielder Eboue Kouassi is nearing an exit from Parkhead, with the report claiming that Greek heavyweights Panathinaikos are interested in signing the Ivorian this summer.
The same report suggests that Panathinaikos are looking for some fresh recruits this summer and the club’s Sporting Director, Nikos Dabizas, has spoken to the Hoops about a possible move for the 21-year-old midfielder.
Kouassi, who made his move to Parkhead from Russian club Krasnodar for a fee of around £3million back in January 2017, has hardly featured for the Hoops over the course of his two-and-a-half seasons in Glasgow.
The 21-year-old missed large quarters of the 2017-18 campaign due to an ankle injury, while a long-term cruciate ligament problem forced him to a six-month spell on the sidelines last term.
Kouassi, who is yet to be capped by Ivory Coast at the senior international level, has struggled with recurrent injuries during his ill-fated spell with the reigning Scottish champions, managing only 22 appearances in all competitions.
The central midfielder, who was brought in by Brendan Rodgers as a part of the club’s long-term plans moving forward, failed to nail down a regular starting role under the former manager, and with Neil Lennon now in charge, it doesn’t look as if things are going to get better for the Ivorian.
The 21-year-old has spent more time on the treatment table than on the pitch and even when he has been fit, the youngster apparently hasn’t done enough to mount a serious challenge for a first-team role.
Kouassi still has a couple of years left to run on his current deal at Parkhead though, and Celtic find themselves in a strong negotiating position amidst interest from Greek giants Panathinaikos.
A loan deal with an option to buy has been proposed, although Celtic might push hard to get the 21-year-old off their books this summer.
Celtic, however, have a few problems to sort out as far as their central midfield is concerned, with Tom Rogic attracting interest from other clubs (h/t Leicester City) and Oliver Ntcham’s future up in the air (h/t BBC). Scott Allan too has also left the club to join Hibernian on a free transfer.
Add Scott Brown to this, who is already 34, and their need to bring midfield reinforcements looks clear, although Nir Bitton is still very much a part of the squad.
Celtic, though, have taken strides to add more depth to that particular area of the squad with the acquisition of Bolton prodigy Luca Connell as a future prospect.
Still only 21, Kouassi is very much in his formative years as a player, and very much at a stage in his career where he needs to play regularly to progress up the ladder.
Constantly spending time on the sidelines and warming the benches isn’t going to work in favour of his development and a move away from Parkhead would provide him with an opportunity to resurrect his career, which has come to a standstill at Celtic.
Looking at things from Celtic’s perspective, the Hoops should look to recoup the money that they had spent to bring the Ivorian to the club, and with two years left on his contract, adopting such a stance certainly makes perfect sense.
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All in all, Eboue Kouassi parting ways with Celtic is in the best interest of all parties involved.