Celtic's five-year plan for Karamoko Dembele has a glaring concern

By David Walton

January 10, 2019

Karamoko Dembele is widely-regarded as Celtic’s hottest young prospect, and the club clearly have huge plans for him.

There’s a determination first and foremost to make sure he’s not another Islam Feruz mark two. Celtic failed to tie down Feruz on a professional contract when he was a budding youngster. That led to him signing for Celtic and doing the club out of the player they raised.

Yet there’s been twice or thrice the amount of fanfare over Dembele as there was over Feruz. Celtic supporters simply cannot wait to see what the youngster can bring to Celtic Park in the coming years.

Karamoko Dembele was playing under-16 football at 13-years of age (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

And they’ve already made huge moves to make sure he doesn’t leave prematurely. The Hoops signed him up on a three-year contract that ties him to Glasgow until 2021.

Celtic’s Head of Youth, Christ McCart, also revealed on Clyde 1’s Superscoreboard that there was a long-term, five-year plan in place for him.

“It’s about development and we want to see them go all the way to the first-team.

“Brendan Rodgers actually put a five-year plan together for him.

“We’re two-and-a-half years in to that plan and more-or-less every box has been ticked, which Brendan had said to him when he met him and his family.”

When Dembele’s plan is complete, his contract is up

It’s all positive news regarding Dembele in the main. He’s committed his immediate future to Parkhead and has his sights set on one day playing for the first-team.

But when the grand-plan of Dembele’s full development is complete, he’ll be out of contract.

Indeed, many raised some eyebrows when the youngster only signed for three years. Nowadays, youngsters usually commit themselves to the club they came through by signing for at least four or five years. This gives them and the club security and allows them to focus on their development.

If that was the case here, then Celtic fans could’ve been safe in the knowledge that they were going to see Dembele for at least a year or two after his five-year program is complete.

Brendan Rodgers has to make sure we see the full potential of Dembele after his development (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

There’s still nothing to stop the big English clubs from coming and nabbing him when he’s 18.

It could be the case that Dembele signs another deal after a year or two into his contract on improved terms. But you have to wonder why he hasn’t signed for longer, despite the clear excitement around him.

For now, he’ll continue to work on finishing up the second-half of Rodgers’ grand-plan for him. Afterwards, Celtic need to make sure they start to see the rewards of it.