Why Brendan Rodgers must go all out to retain Moussa Dembele at Celtic
The 22-year-old missed training on Wednesday ahead of the club’s UEFA Europa League qualifier against Suduva and instead had a meeting with chairman Peter Lawwell, along with his representatives, to discuss his future at the club (h/t BBC).
“There’s a lot going on with Moussa at the moment,” said Rodgers speaking of his striker. “There is speculation around him. Moussa is not a player we want to lose. He’s a phenomenal talent. He’s not going to be here forever,” he added, dropping a hint that the Frenchman might be on the move. (BBC)
The 22-year-old arrived at Celtic on a free transfer, following the expiry of his contract with Fulham in the summer of 2016. Since then, he has dominated Scotland by with his goalscoring prowess. Dembele finished his first season with the Hoops with 32 strikes from 49 appearances in all competitions, playing a huge role in their domestic treble triumph under Rodgers.
Having suffered an injury towards the end of his debut campaign, the Frenchman did not start the 2017/18 season as strongly as before but still managed to finish with 16 goals and 9 assists from 39 matches in all competitions as Celtic achieved a historic consecutive domestic treble.
Dembele has been off to a strong start to the ongoing campaign as well, bagging 3 goals already before another injury saw him miss out on a run of games.
Celtic broke their club record for transfer fees by signing Dembele’s fellow countryman Odsonne Edouard this summer from PSG. And Leigh Griffiths is also ready to hit the ground running after a stop-start season last time out that was blighted by injuries.
Rodgers could have truly profited by utilizing a two-pronged frontline consisting of Dembele and Edouard, which seemed to work brilliantly in the early phases of their Champions League qualifying campaign.
However, losing Dembele at a point when their season hasn’t been off to the best of the starts could prove to be disastrous for Rodgers’ team. Furthermore, they have little time to find a suitable replacement for the 22-year-old, with the Scottish transfer window set to close on Friday.
While selling the Frenchman would reap great financial rewards for the club, doing so with little time left to bring in a new striker is likely to cost Celtic in a big way. With arch-rivals Rangers looking well-equipped to push them hard in the title race, the Hoops must avoid this scenario at all costs.