Celtic need to tie down Karamoko Dembele on a new contract or risk January blow
It feels as though we’ve been hearing about Karamoko Dembele forever at this point, but it’s incredible to note that the youngster is still only 17.
Bursting onto the scene several years ago with his dazzling feet, Dembele has come a long way at Lennoxtown. Graduating through the academy, Neil Lennon handed him his first-team debut against Hearts back in 2019. He then followed that up with outings against Cluj, Ross County, and Hamilton respectively over the last 10 months.
However, whilst Dembele has been developing nicely since signing his first professional contract back in 2018, Celtic are in risk of him leaving for nothing in just three months’ time.
Incredibly, Karamoko’s contract is up in the summer of 2021. We’re now just several months away from him being able to sign a pre-contract elsewhere and move on in the summer.
There will undoubtedly be suitors for him too. Given the high profile he’s always had combined with the impression he’s made at youth level, he would be an attractive proposition for many clubs around Europe at just 17 years of age.
Dembele still to make his mark at Celtic
Back when he signed his first professional deal three years ago, Dembele said to Celtic’s official website: “My goal is to play for the first team. As soon as I can, I’m going to try to get into the first team, 100 percent. In the Reserves, every training session, every game – it’s all to prove myself to the manager that I can play in the first team.”
Whilst you can argue that Dembele has achieved the above, he hasn’t won anything. He’s still to seriously break through and make himself a Parkhead regular. He’s yet to sample winning league titles and playing on captivating European nights at Parkhead. There’s so much more for him to do here.
He also must look at the current Celtic squad and see an opportunity there. With James Forrest struggling, we only have Jeremie Frimpong available to play down the right flank. Dembele impressed there in pre-season, and even notched a goal in a friendly against Hibernian at Parkhead.
So from his perspective, signing a new deal would be the best thing for his development. Yes, Lennon has been hesitant to throw him in this season. When you’re going for 10-in-a-row, putting your faith in youth can be a tad naive. But he’ll get his chance if he commits here longer.
Celtic need to sort something out soon. The last thing we need is Dembele’s agents getting involved and finding him offers elsewhere. We’ve lost too many good young talents in recent times such as Liam Morrison and Barry Hepburn to Bayern Munich.
Dembele quite simply must be kept given the potential he’s already shown in small glimpses. Time to move fast.