Southampton have been monitoring the progress of loaned out rising star Mohamed Elyounoussi, who is making serious waves up in Scotland. The striker has been an important part of Neil Lennon’s squad this season, despite the rocky run of form so far.
The Saints loanee has scored four goals in his last four appearances for the Hoops, with the club’s only goal against AC Milan last month coming through him in a substitute appearance. Lennon has been playing heavily with his lineups this campaign, consistently alternating the attacking options he chooses to field. But given Elyounoussi’s prolific form, it’s clear that the manager must opt to keep him in the starting XI for the remainder of the season.
This is bad news for Southampton though, who have been looking to pave a way for his return to the south coast.
“I am very happy for [Elyounoussi] that he scored and I am happy to see it,” Ralph Hasenhuttl said (via FourFourTwo). “And, definitely, the player has a chance to maybe come back in and to be a part of the team, maybe next year.”
With Danny Ings ruled out of action through a knee injury, it’ll be a huge worry as the Saints plan their future. The England international has been almost free of problems since he joined Southampton initially on loan in 2018. Out of fear something similar will happen again, Hasenhuttl will be scrambling for cover.
But it won’t be as easy as simply recalling Elyounoussi. The Norway international has commented that he is fully focused on Celtic for this season. Indeed, the striker has bagged seven goals and four assists in 16 appearances for the Hoops and is receiving regular game time under Lennon (via Transfermarkt).
Elyounoussi is contracted with the Premiership side until next summer and he will have a big decision to make regarding his future. His impact in Scotland has had a lot of professionals and pundits talking, with Ally McCoist in particular lauding his performance against Lille as “absolutely clinical”.
Given his influence in attack and the potential exit of Odsonne Edouard, Elyounoussi could be offered a permanent deal with Celtic. Hasenhuttl and the Saints must act fast if they want to tempt the Norwegian back to St Mary’s.