Celtic will need to pay at least £8million to sign Mohamed Elyounoussi permanently from Southampton in January, Football Insider understands.
The Scottish giants beat Real Betis to the capture of the Norway international winger on a second consecutive season-long loan in the summer.
He has become increasingly influential in Neil Lennon’s side and scored a hat-trick in last Sunday’s 4-1 win at Motherwell to take some of the heat off the manager.
That has led to calls from a significant section of Celtic fans for the club to fast-track a permanent move for the Norway international, 26, in January rather than allow him to head back to Southampton at the end of the season.
The Hoops failed to re-sign Fraser Forster after his brilliant 2019-20 campaign led him back up Ralph Hasenhuttl’s pecking order.
A Celtic source has told Football Insider how the club were told in the summer it would cost £8-10million to sign Elyounoussi in the summer.
That figure is unlikely to change going into January as the winger has a contract with the Saints that runs until 2023.
The feat for Celtic is Elyounoussi’s value could rise if he continues to win matches with his goals and assists.
He already has 11 goals and four assists from 19 matches this season and has been the team’s most consistently effective attacking player.
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 even before the lockdown led to a premature halt.
He joined Southampton for £16million in the summer of 2018 from Basel but struggled to make an impression in his first season before being loaned out.