As Celtic continue to chase the signature of Hibernian midfielder John McGinn, with outlets like The Daily Record reporting that the club are set to make a second bid this week, it’s clear that the Hoops are looking for reinforcements in the middle of the park.
Does that call into question the role of Eboue Kouassi in Brendan Rodgers’ first team going forward?
Kouassi was signed in January of 2017 and although the manager admitted at the time he wouldn’t be immediately competing for places in the starting eleven, he perhaps hasn’t progressed quite as quickly as supporters would have liked.
In total he’s made 17 appearances for the Hoops, only nine of which have been starts. Performances have ranged to raw and shaky to accomplished and composed, making his future something of a mystery.
His place in the Celtic squad is now in question with David Friel at The Scottish Sun reporting last month that he was set for an exit this summer, either on a loan basis or even permanently.
With Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown locking down those deeper central midfield positions, backed up by the likes of Callum McGregor, there’s been little scope for Kouassi to get the regular week-to-week action he needs to develop further.
Yes, Stuart Armstrong has left the club but he has always been better suited to the role Tom Rogic plays, making runs beyond the defensive line and carrying a threat in the final third.
John McGinn’s game appears far more suited to compete with the likes of Brown and Ntcham, making Kouassi something of an odd man out ahead of the new season. If the Hibs man signs, it seems increasingly unlikely that the Ivorian will be relied upon even as a back-up.
Latest reports suggest that McGinn could cost the club as much as £5m, which would clearly be a significant outlay and one which would likely be justified with plenty of appearances.
Kouassi has a definite physical presence and strong potential, but if he’s not getting the games, there’s simply little point in having him hang around, especially when loan options are on the table.