On the 12th January 2017, Celtic announced the signing of 19-year-old Eboue Kouassi from Krasnodar, subject to the granting of a visa.
Although the vast majority of Celtic supporters had never seen the Ivory Coast born midfielder in action, comments from Brendan Rodgers regarding the extent of his ability appeared to convince them that their new recruit was the real deal.
Rodgers said (as per Evening Times): “He is one of those young players I look at with the same feeling I had as when I saw a young Coutinho or a young Sterling.”
With praise of that esteem welcoming Kouassi to Celtic Park, it’s no surprise that the supporters were full of optimism for his future at the club…
Waves like the pope and has Christ in his name.
We're on to something with this boy. pic.twitter.com/GdF2su7xje
— Mince McVahon (@TamIsNotAMeme) January 12, 2017
welcome to the club!
— Jogè Forlan (@jogeforlan) January 12, 2017
solid defensive midfielder, exactly what we need, hope he settles ok and gets a run
— Eddie Cassidy (@edcassidycomedy) January 12, 2017
Delighted, an exciting young talent from Russia on a permanant deal. Brendan Rodgers seems very impressed, good enough for me.
— Xavier Vincenzi (@XavierVincenzi) January 12, 2017
— Clare (@ScotlandClare) January 12, 2017
Kouassi Eboue will be better than pogba
— declan (@declan_drysdale) January 12, 2017
Fast forward nearly two years and it’s fair to say that Kouassi has failed to live up to expectations.
The dynamic midfielder has struggled to convince Brendan Rodgers that he deserves a spot in Celtic’s starting eleven and he has made just 19 appearances as a consequence, only 11 of which came in the Scottish Premiership.
Kouassi is a young talent who undoubtedly needs time to develop before he is written off by sceptical onlookers, but his failure to take a step forward in his career since joining Celtic is a genuine cause for concern for the supporters.
Indeed, he has only been included in two Celtic squads for SPFL fixtures this season and, with Olivier Ntcham, Youssouf Mulumbu, Callum McGregor and Tom Rogic all firmly ahead of him in the pecking order, it’s difficult to see where Kouassi fits in to the bigger picture.
Considering his lack of game time it would be wise for Rodgers to send him out on a short term loan deal when the January window reopens for business, otherwise the budding midfield lynchpin could slide into obscurity and fail to live up to the enormous potential which Rodgers explicitly claimed he possessed in abundance.
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