Rodgers confirms ‘big interest’ in Celtic striker Dembele from another club

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed “big interest” from one club in Moussa Dembele after the striker missed training ahead of Thursday’s Europa League play-off clash against Suduva to discuss his future.

The 22-year-old Frenchman, who joined the Parkhead club from Fulham two seasons ago, has been linked with a move to Ligue 1 sides Lyon and Marseille.

Dembele was at Celtic Park with his representatives to discuss his future while his team-mates trained at Lennoxtown in preparation for the second leg of the tie which stands at 1-1 from the first game in Lithuania last week.

Rodgers would not confirm Lyon were the club he was referring to but said: “Moussa and his representatives were at the club today, speaking with the club.

“There hasn’t been an official bid as far as I am aware – but interest. As far as I am aware it is one club.

“It is safe to say there is a big interest from another club and Moussa and his representatives are speaking about it. Moussa is not a player we want to lose.

“He is a phenomenal talent. He came in here a couple of years ago and developed the way we thought he would.

“He is not going to be here forever, it was all part of his plan to come in like it is sometimes for a lot of European boys, they come in to develop and improve at a great club and then look to move on.

“But of course it has to work both ways, we don’t want to be losing  a top class player without having a replacement so it is on-going discussions really.”

Rodgers will speak to Dembele regarding the Suduva match.

Moussa Dembele has impressed during his time with Celtic
Moussa Dembele has impressed during his time with Celtic (Jeff Holmes/PA)

The Northern Irishman said: “He is available for the game but I will speak to him later on.

“It is clearly difficult for players and clubs at this late stage.

“I have to be convinced with everyone that plays, that they are fully committed to playing in the game.”

The Hoops boss was glad to welcome back his other French striker Odsonne Edouard who has been out injured for four games.

He said: “He is back training and looking very good. He has been a miss for us as he is a big talent, so it is great to have him back and moving so well.”

Rodgers reiterated that his interest in Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna had ended, saying, “That is closed, no more to add,” while admitting he was looking to trim his squad before the transfer window closes on Friday.

He said: “The squad is way too big, it is as simple as that.”

Rodgers is determined that Celtic see off the Lithuanian side and assure European football for the rest of the year at least.

He said: “It is important for us to have European football at least through to Christmas. We started out on this qualification journey on June 18 and it has been a long pre-season but we have a great opportunity to finish the job off at home.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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