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‘Edouard like Dembele & could play for Arsenal’ – Nicholas expects Celtic exit for striker

9:07 AM EDT 5/2/20
Odsonne Edouard, Celtic
The former Hoops and Gunners man believes the French forward starring in Scotland could be on the move in the same window as the Lyon frontman

Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard’s situation is comparable to that of Lyon star Moussa Dembele, Charlie Nicholas claims, with the two French forwards having sparked talk of interest from Arsenal.

The Gunners are keeping an eye across the market in case club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang decides to move on.

Another proven goalscorer would be sought in his place, with Edouard and Dembele ticking the right boxes.

Ex-Celtic and Gunners frontman Nicholas admits as much, telling Sky Sports: "Edouard is a very good technical player. There's been comparisons with Dembele, who has now been linked with Chelsea for £40m-50m, and I look back at the balance of what Edouard has compared to Dembele.

"Dembele is a more aggressive character and is better in the air, whereas Edouard is a more laid-back individual. He's good with both feet and he's 6ft 1in so aerially he could be a threat. But he doesn't really play that way.

"He will score a few headers because his physicality is good, but he's more about link-up play, getting the ball into his feet, turning defenders. He will run in behind on the shoulder of defenders.

"Of course he could make it in the Premier League, but he would need to be playing in a team structure that has a lot of the ball. At Celtic, they have it 75-80 per cent of the time. That's why he's become such a marketed product.

"He's had his best goalscoring season and he's scored quite a few in Europe so you are not just judging him on his tally in Scottish football. In the last six months, we have seen that defenders have tried to get physical by kicking him, we have seen him start to react in a good way.

"Before, he might go missing for 20 or 25 minutes, but now when that happens, he gets agitated and tries even harder. As a result, he's become Celtic's key player and best by a distance. He will leave Celtic.

"Some people are suggesting he'll stay on next season as Celtic go in search of 10 titles in a row. People up north get so bogged down by it, but Edouard is now reaching a side of his career at 22 where, like Dembele, he will be looking at who are interested in signing him."

Nicholas believes Edouard would be a good fit for Arsenal, with it possible that he could join other former Celtic stars such as Virgil van Dijk and Kieran Tierney in the Premier League.

The Scot added: "Edouard could certainly play at Arsenal because the way they play, his style would be more than suitable for it. The problem is getting the judgement right over whether he's ready right now, playing every week for Arsenal compared to who is there already. I'm a big fan of Alexandre Lacazette, and Edouard has got quite a bit of Lacazette in style within his game.

"This will come down to what Edouard wants. If he wants to leave, then he will leave. Celtic will take the cash rather than have a player who is not committed to the cause because historically that's what they have done - with Dembele, Van Dijk and Tierney.

"He has to go to a side that plays him. He can play with a partner and he can play on his own, but he must play in a team that's going to give him a lot of service. If he plays in a side that sometimes gets 40 per cent of possession, he will find it really tough to adapt.

"His attitude has improved sufficiently enough to tell me he will become a top player but I am not quite convinced teams will yet be looking at him as a £40m player. But the current market, with the coronavirus likely to impact the value of players, this will play a crucial part."