Peter Lawwell retired after 17 years as the chief executive of Celtic this year and left Parkhead having overseen countless title wins and trophy lifts with the Hoops.
Over the years, he was able to pull off some masterstrokes in the transfer market, bringing Virgil van Dijk to the club for example, but not every transfer works and one of his last pieces of business was to bring Ismaila Soro to Celtic in January 2020.
Soro was playing for Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv in Israel prior to arriving at Celtic, making 64 appearances for the club in three years after leaving Belarus-based outfit FK Gomel. His form in Tel Aviv seemingly prompted Lawwell and manager at the time, Neil Lennon, to take a gamble on him.
Celtic reportedly forked out a sizeable £2.07m for the defensive midfielder, which came as a phenomenal rise in value for him two years on from his move to Bnei Yehuda from Gomel. Transfermarkt valued him at £90k in January 2018, with Celtic paying a 2200% increase on that initial valuation.
This suggests that he was improving as a player and heading on an upwards trajectory in his career, which could be why Lawwell decided to pull the trigger on signing him. The young Ivorian may have been seen as a prospect who could develop at Celtic Park and either go on to become a top player for the club in the long-term or be sold on for profit, like the aforementioned van Dijk.
Unfortunately, Soro has been unable to kick on since arriving at Celtic Park, despite a positive first few months at the club. In the 2020/21 campaign, he completed 90% of his passes and made 3.1 tackles and interceptions per game for the Hoops in the Premiership. However, he only won 52% of his duels as a defensive midfielder, which meant that he was not dominating games in the middle of the park.
His form has taken a turn for the worse this term, with an average SofaScore rating of 6.63 in six Premiership appearances. He has made 1.4 tackles and interceptions per game, losing a whopping 64% of his duels on the pitch – including 75% of his ground battles.
Soro has started just once in the league, with the other five outings coming as a substitute, which shows that Ange Postecoglou does not trust him to play from the start. His horrific success rate in duels could be a major factor in his decision, with Soro failing to adjust to the physicality of the Premiership, allowing opposition players to come out on top of him more often than not.
At the time of writing (07/10/21), Soro’s market value on Transfermarkt is £810k. This means that his price has plummeted 60.8% from the £2.07m Celtic paid for his services less than two years ago, showing that Lawwell had a disaster with this piece of business as he overpaid for the 23-year-old.
Soro has not been able to establish himself in the starting XI and his value is continuing to drop as he flops on the pitch. The move, at this point in time, has not worked out and Postecoglou could have a decision to make on his future unless he turns things around quickly.