Danny Mills has tipped Celtic to sign Mohamed Elyounoussi permanently – but insisted a deal is unlikely to happen until next summer.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley, the ex-England international believes Southampton are likely to green light the exit of the winger, 26, at the end of the season.
Football Insider revealed earlier this week that Celtic will need to pay up to £10m to sign the Saints loanee permanently in January.
His £60,000-a-week wages at the Premier League club make a transfer complicated for the Hoops.
But there is encouragement for the Hoops from the outstanding form of Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side.
Asked by Football Insider whether Southampton’s excellent form could lead to the sale of the winger in January, Mills said: “I think when Elyounoussi returns from his loan at the end of the season Hasenhutl will have a think about whether he’s better than what they’ve already got at Southampton.
“They’ll think, ‘Can we afford to move him on and possibly bring somebody else in and use that money elsewhere?’.
“Southampton are a very well-run club, they’re still very, very frugal and careful in the way they do business.
“I can see that deal getting done with a permanent move. That would work for Celtic, that works for the player and it works for Southampton.”
Elyounoussi ended his first loan season at Celtic in the SPFL team of the year despite missing months of the campaign with a foot injury.
He scored a hat-trick last Sunday to make it 11 goals and four assists in his 19 appearances across all competitions this term.