IT is Celtic’s circle of life. They have no choice but to walk it if they are ever going to even part-way emulate the Lions.

Buy a young, cheap-ish player from a big European club’s second team. Play and train him for two seasons. Attract the interest of richer team. Flog for massive profit, plus hefty sell-on fee, then go and sign another one with the same background.

And repeat. Again and again.

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Celtic will never win the Champions League but for them to do something in the Europa League – for the moment that means reaching the quarter-finals – they can’t wander from the system of buying young and cheap with the plan to make a few bob.

Virgil van Dijk, Moussa Dembele, Fraser Forster, Stuart Armstrong and Victor Wanyama will keep Celtic going for a few years. Odsonne Edouard will be next. And he might go for even more than the £25million earned from Kieran Tierney’s move to Arsenal.

“When you are French, are playing at international level and scoring goals on all fronts, people will be sitting up and taking notice of you,” said former Celtic defender Mark Wilson, now manager of Brechin City.

“His all-round game has come on a lot. You keep forgetting he’s such a young. Sometimes you hammer him as he was bought for £9million and you think he should be doing better. But he’s still just learning.

“And this season, with the way he’s started, you can tell he’s a more developed player when he gets one on one

“Now he looks like the coolest guy in the stadium. He looks like a top finisher. He’s someone Celtic need to keep fit. I don’t think they will be in any rush to sell him unless there was some sort of astronomical bid.

“He’s one they can keep and develop for a few years and eventually get top price for him.

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“Sometimes you hammer him as he was bought for £9m and you think he should be doing better. But he’s still just learning.

“I would say Dembele when he moved on was better but I feel Edouard has the potential to go on and be better. He’s strong as anything. You saw that at Ibrox where I felt he battened the two centre halves about.”

Dembele looked and played the part right away. With Edouard, it took more time, although he was only 18 when the loan move from PSG materialised.

Celtic supporters, understandably, grow frustrated when one of their imports (or homegrown stars such as Tierney) begins to do well, they get linked with a move which nine times out of ten is around the corner.

Wilson gets that. But he makes the point that given the way football now works, Edouard’s form suggests that Celtic will get an offer for the striker and one which could break the record of Tierney and certainly the £20m Lyon paid for Dembele.

“It’s just the way the market is,” said the former right-bac. “It’s getting more inflated every year so you’d expect him to. The fact is, Celtic bought Edouard for £9m so they aren’t just going to take say £15m for him.

“His age comes into it. He’s on the international scene. All that counts. But I don’t think they’ll be in any rush to sell him. They’ll try their best to keep him and get his best younger years out of him.’

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“If he scores more in Europe the valuation goes up. That’s what happened with Dembele. He scored a couple in the Champions League and then everyone was looking at him. That’s where you are made. It’s great doing it domestically.

“Scouts look at you in the big games. The important thing when you are a striker, like Dembele, like Edouard, is you score against Rangers and in Europe, you score when you represent your international side.

“That’s what makes them take notice. Edouard is ticking all those boxes right now. It’s what attracts big clubs. That’s what big players do for you. And he is doing that every week.”