According to reports, Ligue 1 duo OGC Nice and Rennes are interested in Celtic midfielder Eboue Kouassi.
Celtic paid £3million to FC Krasnador to sign Kouassi last year but the youngster has started just nine games for the Scottish champions since his arrival. He failed to make an impact for the Bhoys, appearing just 17 times in all competitions for the Glasgow giants.
The 20-year-old Ivorian is a central midfielder and due to Scott Brown’s excellent form this past season, Kouassi found it difficult to nail down a place in the starting XI.
At the time of Kouassi’s arrival in Glasgow, it was rational to assume Brown was slowly starting to feel his legs. Hence, there were hopes that the 20-year-old would be utilised more often.
Of course, this didn’t happen. Instead, Brown found the best form of his career this past season and became absolutely untouchable. There were no signs of the Scotsman fading and thus, Brendan Rodgers had no option but to continue with the hard-tackling midfielder.
Moreover, Olivier Ntcham also enjoyed a rollicking season as he formed a solid midfield pairing with Brown, which saw Kouassi spend more time on the bench.
A lot was expected when Kouassi arrived at Parkhead last year but it hasn’t gone exactly to plan. But if Rodgers is renowned for one thing, it is his ability to nurture young talents.
The likes of Raheem Sterling, Joe Allen, Luis Suarez, Moussa Dembele and Kieran Tierney all developed considerably under Rodgers. Kouassi’s time at Parkhead hasn’t been great so far but he should know that he has fallen into the hands of the right manager. Although the Ivorian struggled to make an impression, he played 17 games in all competitions and that’s not too bad for a 20-year-old.
That said, Kouassi should play more often to develop further and selling him after merely 18 months would be ridiculous on Celtic’s part. The 20-year-old’s contract will expire only in 2021, meaning Celtic shouldn’t be in a hurry to sell the midfielder.
The Ivory Coast midfielder needs more game time to progress and that’s something Celtic might not be able to offer right now. Hence, it would be logical to send him out on a season-long loan this summer.
Kouassi is one for the future and he could go on to become Scott Brown’s long-term replacement as well. At just 20 years of age, he is obviously a raw talent with plenty of time on his side but he needs to play regularly for sustained development.
Brown is 32 and cannot go on forever at Celtic, so ideally Kouassi should receive a big break in the near future. Hence, selling Kouassi would be a big mistake by the Scottish champions.