Karamoko Dembele will never have a bigger chance to explode onto the scene at Celtic

By David Walton

July 6, 2021

Karamoko Dembele has had a rather disappointing time of it since his debut back in May 2019.

On that day against Hearts at Parkhead, the youngster dazzled with his quick footwork and ability to get bums off seats. Yet, since then, his Celtic career has fizzled away.

Dembele has only made seven more Celtic appearances. He’s had two full campaigns to make his mark at Parkhead and hasn’t done so.

There have been question marks about his attitude too. The Athletic reported back in December that there were major concerns regarding the youngster’s attitude and application. This came months after Neil Lennon outlined his plans to have Dembele around the first-team squad this season [Scottish Sun]. He would only end the campaign with five appearances and 45 minutes in total [Transfermarkt].

However, over the course of that period, there’s been a problem. Lennon was in charge, and game-time over James Forrest was always going to be next to impossible.

Karamoko Dembele must blow Ange Postecoglou away in Wales; Celtic youngster well capable

This season is totally different. We have a new manager on board with no prior relationship to James. In addition to that, he has both a reputation and a track record for developing young talent and throwing them in if they’re good enough.

Dembele has the raw capabilities to make an impact at Scottish Premiership level. He proved that towards the end of last season when he bagged his first senior goal against St Johnstone.

Pre-season this year couldn’t be more important for the winger. He has the ability to be the most influential player on the park against Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton Athletic, or Bristol City. A string of impressive performances from him and there will be demands that he gets senior opportunities. Postecoglou isn’t one to ignore them either.

Celtic youngster Karamoko Dembele / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The fact Forrest was injured for large spells last year and Dembele still wasn’t picked was eyebrow-raising. It suggested that something wasn’t going well behind the scenes. Many believed it could’ve been down to him potentially being into the final year of his contract, but John Kennedy confirmed he still had an extra year [Daily Record].

Everything is in Dembele’s favour this summer. If he shows what he’s truly capable of in Wales, Postecoglou will give him his opportunity. But the main question over him is how much he wants it. Given he’s been on the books at Celtic throughout his younger days, he surely wants this more than some may believe. He can almost taste regular first-team football at Parkhead.

But he’ll get absolutely nowhere if he makes a minimal impact over the course of July. It’s a big week for Karamoko. His Celtic career could depend on it.

In other news, Josh Doig doesn’t appear to be a Celtic transfer priority given the Aaron Hickey speculation.