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Rodgers hails Edouard after Celts pay £9m in record deal


By Andy Newport

Brendan Rodgers hailed Odsonne Edouard as one of the best young prospects in Europe after Celtic broke their transfer record to land the French player on a permanent deal.

The Hoops have reportedly splashed out £9m to secure the 20-year-old on a four-year contract from Paris St Germain.

Edouard netted 11 goals in 29 appearances last season - including three against Rangers - as the Parkhead outfit secured their second straight treble.

And despite the competition from Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths, manager Rodgers (above) believes the vast sum Celtic have paid for Edouard's services is money well spent.

He said: "We are delighted to make such an important signing. Odsonne is one of the best young players I have worked with and one of the best in Europe.

"Our fans saw exactly what he is capable of last season and we look forward to working with him again as we look to build on the tremendous success we achieved. I'm sure he will be a big player again this season."

Celtic called the signing the "biggest transfer" in their history but did not disclose the fee paid. Their previous record stood at the £6m paid for strikers John Hartson and Chris Sutton.

"From the moment I walked into Celtic, the club felt like home to me," said Edouard. "I have been made to feel so welcome by everyone at the club and our fans have given me such brilliant support.

"Celtic is one of the world's great football clubs and I was desperate to make my move permanent. The scenes from May when we achieved such a historic 'double treble' and made the city come alive are still very fresh in our memories.

"To see our fans so happy is the reason you play football and now we want to do everything we can to bring our great supporters even more success."

• New Rangers manager Steven Gerrard will go head-to-head with his former Liverpool mentor Rodgers just four games into the new Premiership season.

Fixtures for the forthcoming campaign were released yesterday by the Scottish Professional Football League and handed rookie Ibrox boss Gerrard an early test of his coaching abilities as he takes his side to Celtic Park on the weekend of September 1.

His first taste of Old Firm action on home soil will be the traditional New Year clash, this year scheduled for December 29.

A second trip to Parkhead has been pencilled in for March 30, with all dates subject to change for television broadcast purposes. The fourth and final league meeting between the Glasgow giants will likely take place at Ibrox following the top-flight split.

Rodgers' team will unveil their seventh straight championship flag when they host newly-promoted Livingston on Saturday, August 4.

Also on opening day, St Mirren host Dundee, Kilmarnock take on St Johnstone at home, Hibernian host Motherwell, and Hearts travel to Hamilton.

Gerrard's Gers get their season under way 24 hours later away to Aberdeen.

Belfast Telegraph

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