Since he departed Celtic, there have been a wide range of opinions expressed about Mohamed Elyounoussi and today, I’d like to add more fuel to the fire by expressing my thoughts on the attacker.
The Norwegian returned to his parent club, Southampton, in the summer after his two-year loan spell in Glasgow came to an end.
Elyounoussi was initially brought in on a one-year loan from the Saints and after helping Celtic to their second 9 in a row success, his temporary spell at the club was extended by another year.
In the total of 67 appearances he made for Celtic, Elyounoussi scored 24 goals and assisted a further 14. It cannot be denied the Norwegian contributed significantly and some of his interventions in big matches were crucial.
His maiden goal for Celtic came in the Europa League group stage as Celtic hosted Cluj. Elyounoussi scored the Bhoys’ second in a 2-0 win. Later on in the season, Celtic would take on Hibs in a league cup semi-final at Hampden. Coming to the fore once again, Elyounoussi played a hand in three of Celtic’s five goals – scoring two and setting up one.
The above involvements came from Elyounoussi in a season that was cut short by Covid however as mentioned, the versatile frontman returned to Celtic for the 20/21 campaign and this is when he really stepped up his game in green and white.
As usual, Celtic had to compete in European qualifiers and a last gasp Elyounoussi strike against Riga sent the Hoops into the Europa League playoffs. In the group stage of the competition, Elyounoussi scored a double away to Lille. A wonderful strike that bent into the far corner was followed by a smart finish from inside the box.
It wasn’t just on the European front the Norwegian was key for Celtic but he also played a big part domestically as well. In the Scottish Cup semi-final which was delayed by Covid, Elyounoussi scored to help Celtic into the final in which they secured a historic Quadruple Treble. A week after said cup tie, the now twenty-seven year old put in one of his most impressive performances in a Celtic shirt, bagging a hat-trick away to Motherwell as Celtic stormed to a 4-1 win. Also, Elyounoussi scored one of Celtic’s two Glasgow Derby goals that season, heading home in a 1-1 draw.
Clearly, Elyounoussi was a highly influential player in the two campaigns prior to the current one for Celtic and the argument could be made that his actions, at least in his second season at the club, were greatly underappreciated due to the fact it was one of the worst in a decade for Celtic.
As well as this, I think I speak for the generality of the Celtic support when I say it would’ve been intriguing to see Mohamed Elyounoussi under the management of Ange Postecoglou, however, the club have moved on to pastures new.
Furthermore, the twenty-seven-year-old is now impressing down in England for Southampton having scored 7 goals and assisted 4 in his 21 appearances across the Premier League, FA Cup and EFL Cup.
Ultimately, Mohamed Elyounoussi was a shining light in a dark season for Celtic. However, a combination of mismanagement and an extremely poor season (in terms of whole team performance) caused a more than 35 time capped Norway International who had impressed in leagues like the Eliteserien and Swiss Super League prior to his arrival in Glasgow, to be hugely undervalued.
We will most likely never see Mohamed Elyounoussi in a Celtic shirt again but I will definitely be keeping an eye on how the remainder of his career pans out.