I wanted to come to Celts in 2015!
NEW BHOY HAPPY HE’S HERE AT LAST
MOHAMED ELYOUNOUSSI could have been a Celtic player four years ago if the Hoops hadn’t balked at his price tag.
Now he reckons his arrival is better late than never.
The Norwegian winger, who penned a season-long loan deal from Southampton on Friday night, ran riot in a Europa League double header for Molde against Ronny Deila’s side.
After grabbing two goals and two assists in back-toback home and away wins, Deila was impressed enough to make a move – but the 3.2million Euros he eventually went to Swiss champs Basel for was too rich for Peter Lawwell’s blood.
And after training with his team-mates for the first time yesterday morning at Lennoxtown, the 25-year-old grinned: “Now I get the chance to do it for Celtic rather than against them.
“I had a good experience in those games back in 2015.
“I knew about Celtic’s interest back then. From what I’ve heard, though, I was a bit too expensive, although I can’t confirm that.
“I do remember at that time I wanted to come to Celtic, especially after playing at the stadium. The atmosphere was amazing that night – until we scored.
“I would have signed if I could, it was my wish to come back then but it’s better late than never. And this Celtic team looks better now.
“The quality and intensity is there, and maybe the organisation and shape. I remember I had a lot of time on the ball against Celtic.
“The team is more aggressive now and they play with more intensity. The results talk for themselves.”
That intensity is what Elyounoussi is here to rediscover for himself.
A £16m transfer to Saints last summer, the 22-cap playmaker was at the peak of his powers, earning the move with an array of end products that included 66 goals in 177 games between the Norwegian and Swiss top flight sides.
Her arrives at the Hoops with it all still to prove, however, after a stop-start season in the EPL left him low on confidence.
But he insisted: “I don’t think I will struggle to get back to that level of intensity.
“I need a bit of time to get to know the players, that would be the only thing. I feel fit enough to play but it’s the gaffer’s decision.
“What was missing last season? It was all small details. It didn’t start great because I was injured and it took some time, it was my first game and I got injured when I’d never had one in my career.
“But I got back, then the manager got sacked, a new manager came in – a lot of things went on and it was hard to get momentum.
“As a player you want to play more so that’s why I’m here, to get back to where I was.”
The Norwegian might have taken some time to get to Celtic Park but now that he’s here he’s happy he made the right choice.
He Said: “This is the right choice for me. The size of the club and the way they play football too.
“They play attacking football. I liked it instantly and wanted to be part of it.”
I knew about Celtic’s interest back in 2015. I think I might have been a bit too expensive but I can’t confirm that!