Celtic may be able to keep Arsenal target Edouard amid Covid-19 crisis, insists Barnes

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Celtic may be able to hold onto Arsenal target Odsonne Edouard amid the Covid-19 crisis, according to ex-Hoops manager John Barnes.

Edouard was enjoying his best season yet in a Celtic shirt before the coronavirus outbreak stopped play in March. The 22-year-old had hit 27 goals in 45 games in all competitions, helping Neil Lennon's side maintain their dominance of the Scottish football landscape.

Celtic were awarded the title for a ninth successive year in May after authorities decided to scrap all remaining fixtures due to the continued threat of Covid-19.

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Speculation is now mounting over Edouard's future ahead of the summer transfer window, with Arsenal reportedly lining up an approach for the French forward.

However, Barnes is confident that Celtic will be able to retain a prized asset due to the financial implications of the coronavirus crisis, with top clubs across Europe likely to tighten the purse strings after an extended period without any matchday revenue coming in.

The former Hoops boss told BonusCodeBets: "Celtic is a fantastic club. We know that money plays a big part in this, but we don’t know what is happening this summer because after Covid-19, I don’t think you’re necessarily going to see £100m and £50m signings. 

"It’s up to the player to decide if he wants to stay in Scotland or not. If he is happy there and he’s in the Champions League and happy with his football then yes they may be able to keep him, but if he wants to go and play in a bigger league with more exposure then it is hard for any Scottish team to keep their better players."

Lennon revealed on Saturday that Celtic have already opened talks with Edouard over a new contract, with his existing deal set to expire in the summer of 2022.

Despite Celtic's attempts to tie the striker down to fresh terms, Barnes says his former club will be used to losing their top players, given the fact that the Scottish Premier League is unable to compete with Europe's top divisions in the transfer market.

He added: "Celtic have no more frustration than if you’re a top club in any league where you can’t compete financially with England, Italy, Spain, France and Germany.

"Celtic are slightly different in that they are as big as some clubs in England or the world, but the financial implications of football in Scotland means they can’t always keep these players and I suspect it will be a frustration. 

"They’ll be understanding that they’re no different to other clubs that lose players, look at Belgium, one of the best teams in the world but you don’t see any players playing in Belgium.

"This has always been a factor of Scottish football, except maybe in the 70s and 80s because from a financial point of view they were able to compete, but now the financial differences between Scotland and England and the rest of the European nations means it is hard for the Scottish teams to compete in keeping their best players."

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