“not quite the same player” – Brendan Rodgers delivers verdict on Dembele’s poor form

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers had admitted that Moussa Dembele is a different player amid transfer speculation, even with the Bhoys receiving no bids for the France under-21 star.

Speaking to the Daily Record after his side’s 5-0 win over Brechin City in the Scottish Cup, the Northern Irish boss admitted that there had been some enquiries received lately for the striker, and that he had noticed that Dembele had been acting differently ever since.

He said:

“My job as the manager is to ensure that the focus is purely on Celtic and the team.

“He is a good kid and for a lot of players January is a difficult window – lots of speculation – but my job is always to protect the club and make sure that everyone who plays is totally focused.

“We will see what happens between now and the end of the month and will take it from there.”

Rodgers, asked whether Dembele who has scored eight times this season, will still be at Celtic after the transfer closes to find the form which saw him bag 32 goals in his first season at Parkhead after signing from Fulham in 2016.

He said:

“Yes, 100 per cent, he has come here and done great for us but there has always been speculation around him and for young players it can be difficult.”

“I brought him here to develop him and to help Celtic.

“As I say it is a difficult window for players, especially in his case but he has no issues and is no problem.

“I could have played him today but for the dynamic of the team I wanted to put young Odsonne in.

“But he is training, working and if nothing materialised between now and the end of the month, between then and the end of the season we will see that player really focused, fighting, running and working for the team.”

Several Premier League clubs are reportedly interested in signing Dembele this winter. Brighton and Hove Albion have reportedly been the most speculated club interested in him while West Ham United and Crystal Palace have shown an interest in signing the Frenchman.

However, with Brighton recently signing PSV Eindhoven striker Jurgen Locadia for a club record fee of over £14 million, the Seagulls interest in Dembele could be cooled. With interest coming from other clubs in this window, it may be difficult for the Bhoys to keep hold of their prized asset.

Next up, Celtic will be back in action in Matchday 23 Scottish Premiership when they travel to Firhill Stadium to take on Partick Thistle F.C. Fans and Rodgers is hopeful of adding him to his squad before the end of the month and will hope Dembele shows he’s still committed with Celtic.

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Kazeem Olawale

Kazeem Olawale

Kazeem Olawale, 24-year old sports writer. An avid Arsenal and Real Madrid fans. If not here, always making round on his banter Arsenal blog, www.goonerrepublic.com