There are lot of similarities between Moussa Dembele and Odsonne Edouard. Aside from being French, they both progressed through Paris Saint-Germain’s academy before seeking their fortunes abroad.
With just two years between them and also playing in the same position, it is not surprising comparisons are made between the two players among fans and pundits alike.
The one big difference is Dembele came on a free transfer while Edouard had to contend with the fact that he was signed for £9m; the highest transfer fee in the club’s history.
It has meant that he has had to battle those questioning the amount the Scottish champions paid for him, and he has received somewhat unfair criticism for his performances at times.
After scoring six goals and providing five assists in 11 appearances so far this campaign, though, his critics have been few and far between, especially after scoring in the Old Firm derby last week.
The comparisons to Dembele are merited to some extent. In terms of finishing over the past year, their figures are almost identical when it comes to shooting accuracy (Edouard hits 45.6% of his shots on target to Dembele’s 47.4%) and conversion rates (both score from 18.4% of their shots).
Their passing is also on a similar level with Edouard averaging ever so slightly more key passes per 90 minutes (0.53) to Dembele (0.51) with the Celtic forward also slightly more accurate (77.7%) compared to his former teammate (74.6%)
Probably the biggest difference comes in their respective dribbling and heading abilities. With the ball at his feet, Edouard is actually stronger averaging 6.42 dribbles per game, compared to Dembele’s 3.83, and has a better success percentage as well.
The one major area of weakness for the Celtic striker, though, is in the air. Dembele is better aerially (winning 45.7% of his aerial duels to Edouard’s measly 26.8%) and this is something that the Celtic ace should be able to work on considering he is 1 1/2 inches taller than the Lyon star.
With the way he is performing at the moment, the sky really is the limit for Edouard and if he can just smooth off some of the rough edges and improve in certain areas, he could well prove to be an upgrade on Dembele.
The £9m investment looks to be money well spent, and it shows the Celtic board what investing in players can provide the team if they are willing to shell out on a more regular basis.