Celtic are set for another transfer setback, with Siriki Dembélé the subject of a hands-off warning.
Peterborough United chief Barry Fry has insisted that despite his transfer request, the older brother of Karamoko is not for sale. Brentford had been heavily linked with adding Dembélé to their squad (The Sun), along with Celtic and – to a lesser extent – Rangers.
However, Fry is adamant that the winger will be going nowhere this January.
Speaking to the Peterborough Telegraph, Fry said:
“We heard a rumour Brentford were interested in Siriki weeks ago so we checked it out and they denied it.
“I dare say Ivan did recommend him, but Brentford have not made contact and we don’t expect them to.
“Our line remains the same. We are not interested in losing our best players in January.”
Celtic running up blind alleys in Siriki Dembélé hunt
With Brentford’s considerable pulling power in England’s lower leagues, they’re a name you don’t want to read in the gossip columns.
The Bees already signed a Celtic target in the last year, with Ivan Toney making the move to London in 2020.
On the 23rd December episode of the ‘Hard Truths’ podcast, Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony described Dembélé as a ‘League One phenom’. With 10 goal involvements in 18 games, it’s not hard to see why (Transfermarkt).
For Celtic, there’s obvious appeal. The club are threadbare on the wings with Forrest missing. There’s the obvious attachment for Siriki, too, in that his younger brother is at the club.
Celtic would also hope that convincing Siriki to Glasgow would encourage Karamoko to extend his contract. However, Barry Fry is steadfast in his refusal to sell the winger, who is eligible to play for Scotland.
Dembélé handed a transfer request in to the club on 4th January. Oddly, Posh chairman MacAnthony denied that the winger had any autonomy in his decision (Peterborough Live):
“His agent will be behind this. It’s what they do, but I have no idea why players go along with it.
“Every player in League One is for sale, but only at the right price. Siriki won’t be going anywhere unless we receive an acceptable offer.
“It is what it is. We need to just get on with things and the player just needs to get on with playing.”
The Nike Academy graduate, who began his footballing career at Dundee, clearly wants to move on. Playing League One football, the lure of European competition or the chase for Premier League promotion are obvious attractions.