CELTIC and French strikers appear to be a match made in heaven. The £500k the Scottish champions paid out for Fulham's Moussa Dembele turned out to be one of the best deals in the club's history. Two seasons and over 50 goals later, the forward departed for Lyon and banked Celtic a cool £25 million.

The goalscoring mantle has since passed to Dembele's compatriot Odsonne Edouard, who is clearly relishing his role as Celtic's first-choice striker. The 21-year-old has been nothing short of superb this season and is a regular feature in gossip columns linking him with a move to European football's heavyweights.

Both are undoubtedly brilliant footballers and while Dembele left his mark in Glasgow's east end, it his his successor who is the current idol of the Celtic support. And rightly so. Edouard isn't just matching Dembele's feats for Celtic: he's eclipsing them.

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Strikers will always be judged primarily by their attacking output and when we compare the two forwards, Edouard is outperforming Dembele in almost all of the key metrics. We should point out that all the stats used throughout are from when the players are the same age: Edouard's are from this season, while Dembele's are taken from the 2017/18 campaign.

Edouard averages more goals per 90 minutes than Dembele did, hits more shots, attempts more dribbles and a higher proportion of these are successful. The Lyon striker has the edge when we examine the pair's respective shot accuracy but aside from this, Edouard has the edge over Dembele.

A quick look at the two players' expected goals (xG) is truly revealing. While both figures are near-identical, Dembele's goals per 90 is only marginally higher than his xG/90. Edouard, meanwhile, has a significant difference between the two figures. What this essentially means is that while both strikers found the net more than they reasonably ought to, Edouard tends to score from more low-probability efforts than Dembele did. In a nutshell: he scores more difficult chances than Dembele did.

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While these attributes are certainly the most important ones for any forward, modern centre-forward play is about more than pure goalscoring. When we compare the two players' creative statistics, we can once again see why Edouard has captured the hearts of the Parkhead faithful.

While Dembele has a marginally higher passing accuracy, Edouard completes slightly more passes per game. The current Celtic striker also sets up more goals for his team-mates, plays more forward passes, more passes into the box and does all of this more accurately than Dembele did in green and white.

Expected assists (xA) work in much the same way that xG does and the metric determines how likely a pass is to result in a goal. Again, Edouard has the edge here, albeit a narrow one.

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When we dig further into the duo's goals, we can find further evidence that Edouard is more valuable to Celtic than Dembele was. It might sound silly but not all goals are equal; banging in a fifth in a comfortable rout for your side is not the same as provding a match-winning strike.

During Dembele's two-and-a-bit years for Celtic, the 23-year-old scored a match-winner on 14 occasions in all competitions. Edouard, though, has done so on 17 occasions in his Celtic career to date.

European football is the ultimate yardstick for a Celtic forward, however, and how a player fares against the continent's best can be a determining factor in where they ultimately move on to - and for how much. And while Edouard, unlike Dembele, has only accrued 44 minutes of Champions League group stage football, he has shone in the Europa League.

Between this seasons qualifiers and the group stages of the Europa League, Edouard has racked up four goals and as many assists for Celtic this season. In total, the 21-year-old has nine goals and five assists in European football for Celtic. During his two-and-a-bit years at Parkhead, Dembele scored six and set up zero for his team-mates.

Four of these came in the group stages against top European opposition and probably carry more weight than Edouard's do but it is worth pointing out that Edouard has held his own in continental football. Just how well he'd do in the Champions League proper remains to be seen but there is no question that Edouard is shown that he can be lethal in the Europa League group stages and in the qualifying rounds for European competition.


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No matter which way you look at it, when the two players' stats are compared Edouard almost always comes out on top. Dembele's reputation has only been enhanced since swapping Celtic Park for the Stade Gerland and rumours of a huge-money move to Manchester United at some point in the future refuse to subside. The 23-year-old looks set to move onto bigger and better things at one point or another and Celtic will benefit through a sell-on clause inserted into his transfer to Lyon.

But when the time comes for Edouard to depart Celtic - as he surely will at some point - the Parkhead heirarchy will be more thn entitled to hold out for more than the £25 million they received for Dembele. The Lyon striker's continued development since leaving Celtic will only bolster Cetic's negotiating position as and when a bid for Edouard materialises and the fact that the current Celtic striker is outperforming Dembele in almost every way would suggest that the club would be perfectly within their rights to do so.

Edouard is so much more than Dembele's successor. He's an upgrade.