Attacking acquisitions can finally fill void left by Dembele departure – Rodgers

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers admits he has had to sign three new forwards to finally replace Moussa Dembele.

Vakoun Issouf Bayo has become the Parkhead manager’s latest recruit after joining loan signings Oliver Burke and Timothy Weah in Dubai for the Scottish champions’ winter training camp.

The Hoops beat off competition from Parma and Rapid Vienna to land Ivory Coast striker Bayo in a reported £2million move.

West Brom forward Burke and Paris St Germain youngster Weah – son of former World Player of the Year George – will see out the season in Glasgow after sealing their own switches.

The new arrivals are a welcome boost for Rodgers after a frustrating first half of the season which saw main goal threat Odsonne Edouard struggle with injury and consistency, while Leigh Griffiths is taking time away from the game to concentrate on personal issues.

And Rodgers also admits his side have struggled to replace the power and speed that Dembele offered before he departed in a £19.7million move to Lyon last August.

But, with three new options now available to him, the Northern Irishman is confident his side have all the firepower they need as they look ahead to the second part of the campaign.

Rodgers told CelticTV: “We’re a team that plays an aggressive game, an attacking game and I felt that was an area we were short in terms of our options.

“So bringing young Oliver and Timothy in will increase that in both the central and wide areas, as will young Bayo as well as he gives us a physicality with his presence and speed.

“It allows us more options with the systems we play. The style will always be the same, but it increases the way we can play.

“We suffered a little bit when Moussa left in the summer, but I’m happy with these three.”

Bayo was a man in demand after starting the season with 18 goals in 23 games for Slovakian side Dunajska Streda.

But Celtic pipped their rivals to clinch the 21-year-old’s signature and a delighted Rodgers added: “It’s a good signing for the club. He’s a forward player as we wanted to increase our options in the front line for the second part of the season.

“He’s a young player who has scored goals, he’s broken into the Ivory Coast national team and Kolo Toure knows him well.

“He’s a player the club can develop and we’re looking forward to working with him.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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