Former Celtic striker Scott McDonald does not expect Daniel Arzani to make his loan move at Parkhead permanent when it expires at the end of the season.
The 21-year-old Australian is on a two-year loan to the Hoops from Manchester City and is due to return to his parent club in the summer, having been unable to gain regular first team action in Glasgow. That was largely down to a horrendous cruciate ligament injury that he suffered on his debut in October 2018, one which kept him out of first team action until last month when he returned in the Scottish Cup win over Partick Thistle.
However, the winger has not played for Celtic since and has only made the bench twice in that time, leaving McDonald to anticipate a move elsewhere for him. Speaking about Arzani to The World Game, he said: “We’re lucky that he’s still very young but with Celtic chasing silverware again, I think he’ll probably be looking elsewhere (for game-time). After this season, he’ll need to sit down with his advisors and the City Football Group and decide what’s the best move for Daniel to play senior football and achieve what we all think he’s capable of.
“Celtic have so much depth – Mohamed Elyounoussi is struggling for minutes on loan from Southampton and Scott Sinclair couldn’t get a game. So it’s tough for Daniel to even get into an 18-man squad for a Saturday. I feel his frustration and I know he’s working really hard and is champing at the bit. When he left Melbourne City there was huge hope that he’d kick on and go somewhere and play every week but it’s just not worked out that way.”
It should come as little surprise that McDonald expects Arzani to seek pastures new in the summer, given how little game-time he has managed even since his return to match fitness. The 21-year-old was given a mere five minutes in that cup game at Firhill and has not been considered by Lennon since, which suggests that even when available, the Australian is not in the manager’s plans.
Also, as McDonald points out, another on-loan left winger in Elyounoussi has struggled to regain his place after injury. The Norwegian was sidelined over the winter with a foot injury and, with Lennon switching to a 3-5-2 formation that has seen Greg Taylor play as a roving wing-back on the left, the Southampton loanee has featured for only 34 minutes in the Premiership since the mid-season break, despite scoring seven goals in 13 games prior to his November injury.
Arzani made Australia’s World Cup squad at just 19 so clearly he is no slouch, but spending 15 months out injured has nixed any good that may have come of his loan move to Celtic. Having been unable to forge his way back into Lennon’s plans, it’s hard to see the Hoops keeping him on past the summer, as McDonald has understandably predicted.
Celtic fans, do you agree with McDonald’s verdict on Arzani’s future at the club? Share your views in the comments section below!
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