Celtic’s recruitment in recent years hasn’t exactly been flooded with success stories. From the current crop at Parkhead, there are few that spring to mind.
The club’s top scorer Odsonne Edouard has been a triumph for obvious reasons while Kristoffer Ajer has developed from a boy to a man during his time in Glasgow.
That being said, plenty have walked through the door, played very little football, and then been sent packing again.
As for Albian Ajeti, he’s only started ten SPFL outings after arriving from West Ham. It’s clear that Nick Hammond and the Hoops hierarchy haven’t always got things spot on.
That being said, there are also errors from the Brendan Rodgers era we can delve into; namely Eboue Kouassi.
Rodgers brought the defensive midfielder to Scotland in 2017 but he featured on only 12 occasions in the league during his three years at the club.
Stuck behind Scott Brown in the pecking order, Rodgers failed to find many opportunities for him in the starting XI. After all, in domestic action, there was no chance a team as dominant as Celtic’s needed two holding players.
He eventually left the Hoops last summer as he completed a permanent switch to Genk. However, in the process, they ultimately lost the heir to Brown’s throne.
The skipper has announced that he’ll leave Celtic on a free transfer at the end of the season when his contract in Glasgow expires. He is set to join Aberdeen as a player-coach and thus, will leave a pretty glaring gap in the Hoops squad behind.
Ismaila Soro feels like the most natural successor but in Kouassi, they had someone primed and ready to take on that duty.
Talking about the Ivorian in 2018, Rodgers tipped him to eventually succeed Brown in the middle of the park: “Eboue’s brilliant in training, he does everything, and longer term he will certainly fulfil that role when Scott moves on,” he said.
Unfortunately, that prophecy won’t ever come true. Kouassi was shipped off quicker than you could mutter the word Celtic.
He was moved on loan to Genk within a year of Lennon being there and he never got an opportunity to prove himself to the Northern Irishman.
The 23-year-old took his leave without ever really making an impact in Glasgow. It’s a shame because the midfielder clearly had lots of talent.
When he burst onto the scene for Russian club Krasnodar, he regularly completed over one tackle per game. A stern and combative player, Rodgers did rate him highly.
“He has good ability and hopefully can come back strongly from injury and show he has a big part to play,” he commented in January 2019.
“Eboue can play here though. That’s the reason such a young player cost a couple of million Euros. He has a talent and in the Europa League games played well,” the former Celtic boss added.
Ultimately, it was fitness doubts and injury concerns that ensured he never got a consistent opportunity at Parkhead.
Kouassi had his ankle problems and spent the second half of the 2018/19 campaign out with a cruciate ligament injury. Had those problems not occurred, he may now be in with a chance of succeeding Brown. Instead, he’s no longer at the club.