Neil Lennon has stated that Jeremie Frimpong has wanted out of Celtic for “six or seven” weeks.
The Celtic manager today confirmed that a club has accepted an offer from someone for Frimpong’s signature [Sky Sports]. The Daily Record believe that club to be Bayer Leverkusen, and they believe the offer to be well in excess of £10m.
With Frimpong talking to the respective club at the moment, it leaves Celtic in a precarious position. The Hoops only have Hatem Elhamed available as a right-back. Kris Ajer, however, can also operate there if necessary.
However, the manager today stated that this hasn’t been sprung on Celtic suddenly. Instead, Frimpong made his feelings known to the club weeks ago:
As quoted by Sky Sports, Lennon said: “The player made it clear… this hasn’t appeared in the last couple of days, this has been in the background for the last six or seven weeks.
“The club has made strides to renegotiate with Jeremie and his representatives and that wasn’t the case. The player made it clear to me, to [head of football operations] Nick [Hammond] and the board that he wanted to leave.
“We got a really robust offer from a club for Jeremie. The club felt it was a good business, we do as well from a football side of things, and when a player makes it clear he would prefer to play his football somewhere else, we all agreed that was a decision we needed to take.”
Lennon has created an atmosphere that has players like Frimpong itching for the Celtic exit door
Some will feel one of two ways about this. Many will feel that Frimpong perhaps has a bit of a cheek. That’s he’s been a major part of our struggling performances this season and is jumping ship at the first sign of trouble. A lack of loyalty perhaps.
Then there will be the other side. Those that feel that this is just the result of toxic atmosphere created at Lennoxtown. That this is the by-product of a failure to sack a manager that even his players don’t believe in.
I personally have actually found myself sitting around the middle. I think we could’ve done without this from Frimpong. That he should’ve shown the club a bit of loyalty and respect whilst helping us see out the season.
However, with no real emotional attachment to the club, you can understand his view. He’s seeing a football club going backwards and refusing to do anything about it. He can see the ship is sinking, and that his season is just fading into obscurity if he stays in Glasgow.
What is annoying about this is that a new manager could’ve saved this. Had we made an ambitious appointment in October or November, Frimpong may have wanted to stay. He may have wanted to try to impress a new, high-quality tactician and take his game to the next level in Glasgow.
Instead, we’re left facing the departure of one of our top young talents. And even though Lennon can point to the balance sheet and be satisfied, there’s a sense we could’ve developed him a lot more before selling on for a much higher fee.