FORMER Celtic hero Chris Sutton insists Odsonne Edouard MUST stay as the champions chase the historic tenth title in succession.
The ex-Hoops hitman, Martin O’Neill’s first buy for the club for £6million from Chelsea in the summer of 2000, reckons the French attack leader has to stay for at least this season.
Edouard, who cost a club record £9million when he arrived from Paris Saint-Germain in June 2018, is at the centre of intense transfer speculation as the clock ticks down to the October 5 deadline.
The 22-year-old talisman netted 28 goals last time out as Neil Lennon’s men claimed nine in a row – and he hit the ground running in the opening Premiership game of the new campaign when he rattled in a hat-trick in the 5-1 Flag Day victory over Hamilton Accies at the start of last month.
Sutton is adamant Edouard’s situation cannot be likened to Brendan Rodgers quitting for Leicester City in February 2019 or Kieran Tierney’s £25million departure for Arsenal last summer.
The one-time England international, speaking on the Daily Record podcast, said: “Totally different, Brendan Rodgers jumping ship. Kieran Tierney, totally different.
“Odsonne Edouard is Celtic’s striker, he’s their main striker. He is so important to the team.
“I don’t care what you say, the club actually owe the fans on this.
“Is he under contract? Players sign up for a contract.
“Look what’s happened with Lionel Messi, he’s had to stay at Barcelona. I know it’s a slightly different situation with the contract wrangle, whether there was or wasn’t a clause.
“He’s staying, he’s not sulking.”
On the prospect of Edouard leaving in a megbucks transfer, Sutton added: “Would that not be a slap in the face for the supporters who have paid their hard-earned money for years and years and years?
“Ploughed tens of thousands, millions of pounds into the football club, to get to this stage.
“To support the club through thick and thin, through the difficult times in the 90s, the hardcore supporters were still turning up when Rangers were dominating.
“Celtic turned it round at the start of the noughties, a good tussle with Rangers and now to get to this situation.
“I don’t care what you say about history, it is so, so important and it’s in touching distance.
“Therefore, for the club to sell their star player at this point in time… imagine the Rangers dressing room!”
Edouard was rested from the side that struggled to overcome Livingston 3-2 at Parkhead at the weekend, but he will be back in place tomorrow night when Lennon’s men face FC Riga in Latvia in the third qualifying round of the Europa League.