Why Omar Elabdellaoui could be a massive bargain for Celtic
According to the Birmingham Mail, Celtic target Omar Elabdellaoui has opened up on his future, insisting that he continues to be focussed on his current job in hand at Olympiacos despite his contract with the Greek giants set to expire in the summer of 2020.
The 28-year-old’s unresolved contract situation at Olympiacos has put a number of English teams, including the likes of Leicester City, Burnley, Aston Villa and Watford on red alert heading into the January transfer window. (Birmingham Live h/t Daily Mail)
As per the report, Celtic have also been credited with an interest in the Norwegian’s services, having scouted him in action for his country last month.
Elabdellaoui, though, remains coy about his future beyond the end of the ongoing season, suggesting that he will think long and hard before coming to a decision regarding his next destination. (h/t Birmingham Live)
Celtic found themselves short of cover at right-back prior to the start of the campaign, with long-serving Swedish international Mikael Lustig departing Parkhead to join Belgian side Gent this past summer.
The Hoops subsequently sorted out their issues by acquiring the services of Hatem Abd Elhamed from Israel, and also completed a move to bring in youngster Jeremie Frimpong from Man City. Furthermore, Moritz Bauer was also roped in on a season-long loan deal from Stoke City on deadline day to provide added depth in that area.
Neil Lennon has since rotated his options effectively at right-back to try and evaluate the new recruits and he should be reasonably happy with how they have fared so far, with Frimpong, Bauer and Elhamed all making an impact to varying degrees.
However, it is imperative to say that neither of them has been able to become an undisputed starter in the playing XI and the door certainly remains open for a fresh face to come in and slot straight into the mix.
Bauer has started only six games so far for the Hoops in all competitions and his limited involvement under Lennon could be an indication that the Austrian international is only seen as a temporary fix.
Elhamed, on the other hand, has been rotated between the right-back and centre-back roles by the manager while the 18-year-old Frimpong is still very much a work in progress at this level.
Lennon has shown a lot of confidence in the former Man City starlet, and notwithstanding the fact that he has shown strong signs of excellence during his debut season, the teenager’s red card against Rangers in the Betfred Cup final on Sunday was a reminder that he is yet to attain maturity.
With that in mind, the long-term right-back situation at Celtic continues to be a bit volatile and it is easy to see why and how a seasoned-campaigner like Omar Elabdellaoui could be a real coup for Lennon in January or next summer.
Ideally, Celtic should look to snap him up on a free transfer in the summer of 2020 when his contract with Olympiacos expires and Bauer returns to Stoke City.
However, negotiating a pre-contract agreement in January to secure his services from the start of the 2020-21 campaign won’t be a bad idea, given that Elabdellaoui will have only six months left to run on his current deal by then.
Having risen through the youth system at Man City, Elbedalloui boasts of experience in the Premier League and the German Bundesliga.
The 28-year-old, who joined Olympiacos back in 2014 and currently captains the Greek giants, has clocked up a staggering 145 appearances in all competitions for his current club, including 21 in the UEFA Champions League, accumulating 10 goals and 14 assists in the process.
To that end, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Omar Elabdellaoui has the CV to back it up at Parkhead and his proven leadership qualities mean that the 44-cap Norwegian international could well go on to establish himself as the ideal successor to the throne of Mikael Lustig at the club.
Elabdellaoui, 28, is very much in his prime as a professional footballer and his availability on a free transfer next summer has every reason to sound music to the ears of the Celtic faithful, who will definitely cherish seeing a top-quality right-back like him grace Scottish football in the days to come.
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All in all, Omar Elabdellaoui ticks all the boxes to come through the door at Parkhead as a massive bargain and a marquee signing for the reigning champions.