It may be time for Celtic to cut losses on Moussa Dembele

By Ruari Macneil

January 24, 2018

Has the time finally come for Celtic to cut their losses with Moussa Dembele?

The Dembele saga is seemingly never ending. Since the Frenchman first launched himself onto the world stage with a hat-trick for the Hoops on his Old Firm debut, the rumours surrounding his future at Celtic have been circulating.

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This January, however, the speculation has attained new heights. Brendan Rodgers is usually an extremely calm and composed speaker, the Celtic boss has, however, appeared somewhat irked this month by the continual questions on his star striker’s future, leading to some frosty comments towards the media.

Dembele has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League with Everton, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Newcastle all supposedly interested in landing the 21-year-old -and that’s just this month!

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And Rodgers has attempted to protect the player – keeping him away form the limelight by benching him or excluding him entirely from Celtic’s match day squads, which in itself has drawn criticism from pundits and fans alike.

Delebele has missed out on the starting XI in the two matches immediately after the winter break, and was an unused substitute against both Brechin City and Partick Thistle.

Rodgers spoke earlier this month about how the rumours surrounding a transfer had unsettled Dembele, and assistant manager Chris Davies indictaed that he believed there was an acceptance that the striker felt like it is the right time to move on.

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Celtic legend Chris Sutton was heavily critical of Rodgers’ deputy on BT Sport’s Scottish Football Extra program last night.

The former Hoops front man said: “It sounds to me like they want to sell him. I have great sympathy with Dembele.”

“I think some of the things said about him are unfair. I’d go as far as to say that Chris Davies overstepped the mark.”

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Sutton also pointed out that using words like ‘unsettled’ and ‘losing focus’ to describe Dembele will only adversely impact his resale value.

Even Rodgers was realistic with his words before last night’s game when asked about his team selection, stating: “It’s important the focus is on players we know will be here. I’m not naive enough to say he definitely will be.”

Notwithstanding Sutton’s suggestion that this saga has possibly devalued the Celtic player, it might make sense financially for the club to cut ties with the striker and allow him to leave this month when a fee of around £20m is still on the table.

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The sooner Dembele leaves Celtic, the more time the club will have to find a replacement before the end of the transfer window, which Rodgers has highlighted as crucial.

Here are some Tweets from Celtic fans regarding the Dembele situation:

List page image © Brian Hargadon