Making the step-up to the Premier League is one of the most daunting tasks for any player in Europe, and even more so for the likes of Mohamed Elyounoussi.
The Saints winger joined the club from FC Basel in the summer of 2018 for a reported fee of £16m according to BBC Sport, yet despite signing for such a high fee for Southampton’s standards, the Norwegian international has been nothing short of a flop with the south coast side.
As numbers from Transfermarkt show, the 25-year-old attacker failed to score or assist a single goal in all competitions for Southampton, a season so poor that Elyounoussi was shipped off to Celtic for the year this summer in an attempt to recapture his previous form for Basel that made him once such a prized asset.
And return to form he has, with Elyounoussi in his first five games for Celtic already finding the net in the Europa League as well as notching two assists for the iconic Scottish club as numbers from Transfermarkt show, and former Saints coach Mark Bowen believes the winger can return to the Premier League and get his career back on track.
The current Reading sporting director said in an interview with The Glasgow Evening Times: “We paid a big fee to get him in at Southampton but, looking back, it was probably too soon for him in the Premier League.
Bowen added with: “But it was maybe just the wrong timing for him. Mo needs a lot of the ball to go and do what he does best. So it was difficult for him at Southampton when he first came in, but this move will be good for him and he can be a success at Celtic.”
Indeed, it is easy to think that Elyounoussi can return to St. Mary’s after a year in Scotland and finally begin to hit the ground running under Ralph Hasenhuttl.
After all, this season as seen the re-emergence of Sofiane Boufal after a year with Celta Vigo, and the same could happen with the Norwegian international.
Elyounoussi has proven for both club and country to be a player of immense quality and skill, yet a move to English top-flight might have been too early for the former Basel star, and a season in Celtic could be the final piece in the puzzle for the attacker to finally make the step-up to the Premier League and thrive with the Saints.