Mohamed Elyounoussi returned to Southampton this summer after shining during his two-season loan spell at Celtic.
Having arrived in England from Basel in 2018, the winger struggled for minutes following Ralph Hasenhüttl’s appointment in December of that year, and the lack of opportunities convinced the 27-year-old to join Celtic on loan in the summer of 2019.
He managed seven goals and seven assists in his first season with the Hoops, and the player’s performances convinced Celtic to take him on a temporary deal again in 2020.
The Norway international continued to star for the Parkhead side last term, managing 17 goals and eight assists across all competitions, and the time spent in Scotland helped Elyounoussi find his way into Hasenhüttl’s plans at Southampton.
“Self-esteem has a lot to say in football, but I also think I have developed physically. Not necessarily when it comes to running capacity, but going into duels and using your body more,” Elyounoussi told Nettavisen.
“I came from the Swiss league, which was much more technical. I got to experience a bit more pressure in Scotland and played a lot of games as a striker – target striker even. I learned a lot there.”
The Saints player became one of the most expensive Norwegian when Southampton invested €17m to secure his signature from Basel, but Elyounoussi admits the price tag had no bearing on his form and is hopeful things go in his and the Premier League side’s favour this season after initial struggles.
“To be honest, [the price tag] was not something I cared so much about. The market decides, and that was the price Basel demanded and eventually received from Southampton. It just shows that Southampton really wanted me,” he explained.
“It’s between the two clubs, and I did not think much about it. I just thought I was going to be myself and create things. It took a little longer than both me and Southampton thought, so we hope things turn around now.”