Lennon dismisses prospect of maximising Celtic player sales in January

By David Walton

December 9, 2020

Celtic boss Neil Lennon has dismissed the prospect of the likes of big-hitters Odsonne Edouard and Kris Ajer leaving, despite them only having 18 months remaining on their contracts.

The Parkhead duo have struggled all season as the club’s horrendous run of two wins in 12 have come as a by-product of a lack of form from many of Celtic’s big-hitters.

Edouard’s poor season is there to see in the black and white of the stats. The Frenchman may have at face value a passable nine goals in 18 games (Transfermarkt), but we’ve come to expect much more from him in terms of his goal return. Ajer, meanwhile, has made a host of individual errors and has been a constant in a backline that has now shipped a staggering 28 goals in 12 games.

Even so, their departures would still be detrimental to Celtic’s title-chances given we know how good both players can be when they have their heads in the game. And Lennon has said via Celtic TV that the club isn’t entertaining bids for their key players next month after one reporter pointed out this club be our last opportunity to get maximum value for them.

“No, look – we’re not looking to sell anybody and we’re not encouraging any offers for any of our players.

“There will be speculation I’m sure. There’ll be interest, but we’ve got a job to do here and the players want to stay and try and fulfill it.”

No big-name departures a must

It’s important to stick by many of the players who have been around and achieved success in the past. The likes of Ajer, Edouard, Callum McGregor to name a few are part of a group of footballers going through a frustrating slump.

It’s pleasing to hear that Lennon and the board don’t plan to cash in, especially with the likes of Ajer and Edouard heading into the final 18 months of their contracts. In the summer, any offer for them will be a cut-price one.

Given that Celtic both failed to qualify for the Champions League and then didn’t add to their pot with any prize-money for Europa League success, choosing not to sell a key player in January would be another sign of the board backing the manager.

Odsonne Edouard must stay at Celtic beyond January / (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Yes there are players who need dropped. Yes, Edouard and Ajer could be two of them for example. But if we sold either in January, the board would hammered for selling 10-in-a-row in favour of a quick buck.

Of course the proof will be in the pudding. A big bid could come for any of our top stars and it would require strength from the board to turn it down. We’ve been let down too often in the past to know that anything is certain with Celtic and selling their best players.

But surely, with 10-in-a-row at stage, there’ll be no outgoings regardless of who comes in which what price.

In other news, the Lille boss was in a strange mood tonight.