Celtic contract talks with Lennoxtown youngsters could do with speeding up

By David Walton

January 18, 2021

Celtic fans will be keen to see who their club enters contract talks with this January, but several youngsters from Lennoxtown could do with being tied up.

There’s been worryingly slow progress on new deals for our top youngsters this season. That’s despite the fact that several of them have been reported as being in discussions.

First up, it was Conor Hazard. He was said to be in talks over a new contract after breaking into the Celtic first-team (Scottish Sun). He was then dropped before a December game against Dundee United. All of a sudden, talks have gone quiet and he’s free to speak to other clubs immediately.

Hazard’s contract situation is primarily a concern given his scenario now is eerily similar to the summer. And the Dundee Courier reported at the start of the season that the Northern Irish youngster had turned down a new deal whilst he was on the sidelines. It’s difficult to see why Conor would suddenly decide to put pen to paper now.

Secondly, you have the Karamoko Dembele situation. A player who we’ve heard about for years who was supposed to break into the Celtic first-team this season. Or at least that’s what Neil Lennon hinted at (Scottish Sun). The Celtic supporters are really concerned with this one.

Plenty of Celtic youngsters have been in contract talks; not many deals over the line

Dembele has only made two cameo appearances all season. Even with most of our squad decimated over the last week, he’s still barely had a look-in. That reflects pretty grimly of his own situation. He’s another whose contract runs out in the summer. Another who can now talk to whoever he wants to. If we can, Celtic really need to move quickly here.

Even Cameron Harper was reportedly set to sign a new and improved contract as recently as last week. Days later we hear that he’s apparently in contact with New York Red Bulls over a pre-contract agreement (The Athletic). Harper featured for the majority of the game against Hibs last week. Even so, his future is hardly tied to Parkhead either.

Cameron Harper in action for Celtic vs Hibs / (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Young Jeremie Frimpong’s situation is a tad more secure. He’s contracted to Parkhead until 2023 so there’s no real rush to get a deal done for him. Still, he was reportedly in talks as far back as June (Football Insider). However, the Scottish Sun stated that despite talks taking place, no agreement had been reached.

It would be a massive blow to lose the likes of Hazard, Dembele, and Harper this summer. Another big blow for the academy that continues to produce players who aren’t making the step-up to first-team level.

There’s still time for this to sort itself out. But all players can now talk with other clubs, and that’s something we should’ve done our best to avoid.

In other news, a defender who’s said to want a move to Celtic could receive a tempting offer from elsewhere.