Video: Celtic-linked Ambroise Oyongo shows why he should still be on club's radar

The 24-year-old Cameroonian left-back scored his first MLS goal for the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night.

With Celtic boss Ronny Deila reportedly looking for a new left-back this summer, the Montreal Impact’s Ambroise Oyongo gave him something to think about on Wednesday night.

The Cameroon international, who was starting on the right-hand side of defence on this occasion, grabbed his first MLS goal in his side’s 3-1 defeat at Canadian rivals Toronto FC, opening the scoring in the 19th-minute with a left-footed rocket to finish off a well-worked counter attack.

The final result ended up being a disappointing one for Frank Klopas’ men after replies from Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco saw them leave BMO Field empty-handed but, in Oyongo’s case, his wonderstrike was a reminder of why the likes of Celtic are reported to have been after his signature in recent months.

 Vs Toronto PositionTeamGoalsTotal ShotsShots OntargetTotal Key PassesTotal PassesPassing AccuracyTotal CrossesTotal TacklesInterceptionsMins Played
Ambroise Oyongo DF Montreal 1 2 1 2 49 81.6% 4 6 2 90

Aged 24, the nine-time capped defender spent the 2014 campaign on loan at the New York Red Bulls from Cameroonian outfit Rainbow FC, recording four assists in 13 starts and five substitute appearances to help the club reach the Eastern Conference Championship.

His impressive performances saw him linked with a move to Europe in the winter, with the Scottish champions named as one if his potential suitors [L’Equipe], but the versatile speedster instead opted to re-sign for the Red Bulls on a permanent deal.

However, his spell in New York did not last much longer, as a trade with the Impact just a few weeks later saw both him and midfielder Eric Alexander shipped to Quebec in exchange for Felipe Martins and the league’s top allocation spot.

Competing at the African Cup of Nations at the time, the deal did not go down well with agent Nicolas Onisse, who launched a scathing attack of MLS in a subsequent interview with L’Equipe, arguing that his client should not have been dealt without his consent.

Nothing that Oyongo had turned down several offers from Europe, including Celtic, in order to remain with the Red Bulls, Onisse said: "It's not at all what had been agreed. It's not fair, not right and incomprehensible.

“Transferring a player without telling him, without asking his opinion remains a serious problem in MLS.”

Following his agent’s outburst, Oyongo became embroiled in a bizarre contract dispute between MLS, Rainbow FC and the Cameroonian FA which saw him miss the Impact’s first six games of the new season.

The prolonged holdout ended last month after a wage increase was mooted to have smoothed things over but, in an interview with 45fois2 before his arrival, the versatile full-back seemed to suggest that he did not plan to be in Montreal for the long-term.

“I couldn’t stay [in Cameroon] any longer to wait, especially since the European leagues are coming to an end,” he said, explaining why he finally decided to come to Montreal and honor his contract.

“I have to be competitive because the national team will begin camp soon. And I couldn’t be in a situation where I hadn’t played for a whole year. I’m going to Montreal to work. It’s a step, like the New York Red Bulls. I have to give the best of myself to be able to play in Europe like I have always wanted.”

With Celtic now believed to be targeting a left-back in the summer transfer window [h/t The Sun], there are good reasons why Oyongo should still be on the club’s radar after returning to MLS action.

The Hoops are reported to have been chasing St Pauli’s Marcel Halstenberg in recent weeks [h/t Daily Record] but, with Hannover and Red Bull Leipzig also claimed to be after his signature, a deal is far from certain.

Given what he shown during his 18 months in MLS, Oyongo could no doubt end up thriving at Celtic Park but, after the trouble Montreal went through to get him back to North America, it remains to be seen what kind of fee his services would demand.

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