Transfer Talk: Rodgers reunion makes sense for Celtic star Edouard
Brendan Rodgers has a proven track record when it comes to developing forwards — and Odsonne Edouard could be in line to learn from the Leicester tactician once again.
According to reports, the Foxes have cranked up their interest in Celtic’s star striker, who spent 18 months working under Rodgers at Parkhead.
Just over two years after Rodgers moved to the King Power Stadium, Edouard could follow in his footsteps.
And it would be a sensible move considering Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Moussa Dembele, Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho are just some of the attackers to improve under his tutelage.
As Leicester get set for an FA Cup final meeting with Chelsea this evening, we explore whether Rodgers could help Edouard take his game to the next level.
Edouard’s tally of 18 Scottish Premiership goals in 2020-21 represents a slight drop off from the 21 he managed in a similar number of minutes last season — but he is still the league’s top scorer and a remarkably consistent marksman.
Since the start of last term, only seven players across Europe’s top five leagues and the Scottish top flight have averaged more than Edouard’s 0.8 goals per 90 minutes.
That return is even more impressive when you consider it includes Celtic’s worst campaign in a decade.
Nothing seems to impact his ability to put the ball into the back of the net.
A modern-day No9
Gone are the days of a striker being judged solely on goals — in fact, some No9s are selected purely because of their ability to bring team-mates into play.
Edouard is one of Europe’s best in that regard.
If we compare him against other players in Scotland’s top flight and the continent’s big five leagues, he is in the top 50 for assists (12) and open-play expected assists (9.38) over the past two seasons.
The France Under-21 international could be the perfect foil for the likes of Harvey Barnes, Vardy, Iheanacho and James Maddison.
Rodgers is not wedded to any particular system, despite his overarching preference for attacking, free-flowing football.
He has used a variety of formations this season, switching between a two-man and three-man attack.
The Leicester boss often fills his squad with multifunctional players and, in that sense, Edouard would fit in seamlessly.
Any potential arrival has to be able to lead the line on his own but also play alongside a partner.
Few modern-day strikers have experience playing in a two-man pairing and the adaptation period is not always a smooth one.
In Edouard, however, Leicester would have someone capable of carrying out different roles, having played in a variety of systems for Celtic.
There is no getting around it, the Premier League is tough.
Many new arrivals comment on the physicality and the speed, often needing a couple of months to familiarise themselves with the pace of it all.
The Scottish Premiership is not at the same level as the English equivalent but there are some similarities and they will likely make the transition much faster.
Edouard has competed in 3.48 aerial duels per 90 over the past two seasons, so he is certainly used to the physical side of the game.
You cannot guarantee anything in football but having experience in a stylistically similar league should stand him in good stead when making the step up to England’s top flight.
The best is yet to come
Despite being in his fifth year of senior first-team football, Edouard is still just 23.
He is closing in on 200 club appearances and he has also played a considerable amount of European football.
As far as profiles go, he appears to be perfect for a club such as Leicester.
The ability is there, he has still got room to improve and, if all goes to plan, he could be sold for a significant profit in a season or two.
Edouard ticks a lot of boxes and would be an ideal acquisition for the Foxes.