Why French football’s financial crisis could scupper Celtic’s hopes of cashing in on Odsonne Edouard

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CELTIC were last night warned the financial collapse of French football will have a devastating impact on their bid to cash in on leading scorer Odsonne Edouard this summer.

The €3.1 billion deal that broadcasters Mediapro brokered with LFP, the organisation that runs Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, last year was dissolved back in December after they missed two monthly payments.

Canal+, who had a €332m a season agreement to show 20 per cent of the top flight matches, have since paid €35m for exclusive television rights until the end of the 2020/21 campaign.

However, the French game is in crisis and Kieran Maguire, a lecturer in football finance and the host of the Price of Football podcast, believes it will have far-reaching repercussions for the European game in the coming months.

Maguire predicted that French clubs will start to sell off their highest earners for vastly reduced sums to avoid going out of business – and forecast that will drive down transfer fees across the continent.

Edouard, who cost Celtic €9m from Paris Saint-Germain back in 2018, is out of contract in 2022 and appears certain to depart at the end of the current season.

The Glasgow club sold Moussa Dembele to Lyon for £19.7m back in 2018 and will be hoping to bank even more than that for his compatriot.

However, Maguire feels the quadruple treble winners will be unable to command a huge fee for the 23-year-old, who has scored 20 goals this term, and might even be unable to offload him altogether.  

“Who is going to buy Edouard?” he said. “Where realistically will his market value be? The market across the vast majority of Europe just isn’t going to be there.

“French football will have no money this summer because their TV deal has disappeared. I don’t see a lot of money being spent in Spain or Italy.

“There will be some decent sized clubs in the Bundesliga who may be interested in Edouard. Could he go to a club in England? Yes, he could. But what are the types of clubs that we are looking at.

“It is going to be bottom half of the Premier League if we are honest. There will be clubs who get promoted who will be interested. Crystal Palace have got 13 players out of contract. They are desperate for a striker. But there are a lot of strikers around.

“The problem that Celtic have is that because of the collapse of French football the players there are being sold at fire sale prices. A French club will now be asking for £12m for a player who might have been going for £25m before.

“So what do Celtic do under those circumstances? They could end up being left with Edouard because they price him out of the market.”

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