Celtic have rejected a second offer from Lyon today for French striker Moussa Dembélé, sources tell Football News.
The French youth international, whose current deal runs until 2020, at this rate could be one of a number of the Scottish champions’ bright talents to be blocked from seeking pastures new, where a better quality of European football is offered.
Fellow Frenchman Olivier Ntcham indicated a strong desire to quit the club after failure to qualify for the Champions’ League, with FC Porto making a number of bids, but Celtic blocked him too.
Ntcham is so resigned to not being able to acquire a move and thus the quality of football that he feels he needs to take the next step, that sources tell Football News that he will sign an extension with the Scottish champions with a wage rise, which he sees as his only option.
A similar situation has faced central defender Dedryck Boyata this summer, who had an initial offer from Lyon, but was barred from leaving Celtic.
Boyata too is resigned to remaining at the club, despite receiving offers from Champions’ League playing outfits and having served the Scottish club well for three years.
Celtic’s recruitment policy has been nothing short of exceptional in recent seasons, but now they face the uncomfortable reality of trying to hold on to players whose talent necessitates that they play for Europe’s elite clubs in the top European competition every year, which is now something that the Scottish champions cannot offer. The summer transfer window closes tomorrow.
This is potentially a watershed window for Celtic, as the excellent young players they bring in year on year from France and elsewhere might think twice about joining if they cannot move on when they feel that the time is right.