NEW Bhoy Mohamed Elyounoussi revealed he could have been a Celtic player FOUR years ago – but the Hoops refused to pay £3million for him.
The Moroccan-born Norwegian international agreed a season-long loan deal from Southampton on Friday.
However, the 26-year-old forward could have been at Parkhead after his devastating displays for Molde, then managed by Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, when he put Ronny Deila’s side to the sword in home and away defeats in the Europa League group stages.
Elyounoussi scored in both legs and the ex-Parkhead gaffer was suitably impressed to make an enquiry about his availability.
AGONY AND ECSTASY…Mohamed Elyounoussi celebrates his goal for Molde against Celtic in 2015 as Tom Rogic can’t bear to look.
The Hoops, though, would not pay the asking fee and the player eventually moved to Swiss outfit Basel.
After training with his team-mates at Lennoxtown for the first time yesterday morning, the player, speaking to the Sunday Mail, admitted: “Now I get the chance to do it for Celtic rather than against them.
“I had a good experience in those games back in 2015.
“I knew about Celtic’s interest back then. From what I’ve heard, though, I was a bit too expensive, although I can’t confirm that.
“I do remember at that time I wanted to come to Celtic, especially after playing at the stadium. The atmosphere was amazing that night – until we scored.
“I would have signed if I could, it was my wish to come back then, but it’s better late than never. And this Celtic team looks better now.
“The quality and intensity is there and maybe the organisation and shape. I remember I had a lot of time on the ball against Celtic.
“The team is more aggressive now and they play with more intensity. The results talk for themselves.”
Elyounoussi cost £16million when he moved to the St Mary’s side in July 2018, but failed to spark on the south coast.
Before arriving in the Premier League, the attacker had collected 66 goals in 177 games in Norwegian and Swiss top-flight divisions.
CLOSE-UP VIEW…Elyounoussi watches his new Hoops team-mate Nir Bitton shoot for goal in the Europa League tie.
He added: “I don’t think I will struggle to get back to that level of intensity.
“I need a bit of time to get to know the players, that would be the only thing. I feel fit enough to play but it’s the gaffer’s decision.
“What was missing last season? It was all small details. It didn’t start great because I was injured and it took some time, it was my first game and I got an injury when I’d never had one in my career.
“But I got back, then the manager got sacked, a new manager came in – a lot of things went on and it was hard to get momentum.
“As a player you want to play more, so that’s why I’m here, to get back to where I was.”
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Newco Rangers v Celtic this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.