Karamoko Dembele should be next on Celtic priority list for new contracts

By David Walton

November 2, 2021

After the brilliant news today of Anthony Ralston’s new Celtic contract, the attention needs to now turn to Karamoko Dembele.

Ralston has turned his Parkhead career around over the past few months after extending his previous deal for a further year. His previous contract expired this coming summer. However, he’s been an absolute rock at right-back for Celtic as he managed to make the position his own.

It’s one of the big long-term squad questions that needed answering sooner rather than later. Ralston’s future is secured, and he joins Callum McGregor in committing to the club for the long-term this season. Ralston’s new deal expires in 2025.

Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images

So what next? Celtic are clearly working their way through players they want to tie down. There are still gaping concerns with the likes of Tom Rogic, James Forrest, and Chris Jullien’s deals expiring in 2023. But for now, those can wait.

The immediate priority now has to be hot young prospect Karamoko. His deal is also up this summer, but hasn’t played this season due to an injury picked up in pre-season.

Only 2 weeks ago, the England youth international revealed that he needed to undergo surgery on his ankle. This had many Celtic fans concerned that the winger had played his last game for the club.

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Karamoko Dembele still needs to solve his long-term Celtic future

They were quite rightly frustrated by it too. Celtic have brought Dembele all the way through the academy and up to first-team level. Yet if the winger doesn’t sign a new contract, he’ll leave the club without making any impact on the first-team. That’s unfathomable given how long he’s been hyped up for.

Of course, the big elephant in the room is whether the player actually wants a new deal. You have to imagine there’s one on the table there for him to sign. He’s far too valuable a talent for him to be let go. But Dembele has yet to open up on his future or discuss where he sees himself in the long-term.

After Ralston’s signature today, Dembele is now the most pressing concern. If we can get that one over the line it will be a massive deal for the club and would give us some leeway given the next matters of concern will be the 2023 contracts.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

You would also hope the fact he’s picked up a long-term injury will see interest in him cool. There may not be the same clamour for his signature as of yet. Not until he’s proved himself at senior level.

Celtic should use the injury uncertainty to pounce. Test the waters and see how Karamoko thinks about committing himself for longer. It’s certainly what would be best for his career.

Hopefully he can see that when the time comes to make a final decision.

In other news, Report: Former Celtic coach Damien Duff to be announced as Shelbourne boss tomorrow