Brendan Rodgers: Moussa Dembele will likely stay until 2018
Celtic’s bid to join Europe’s elite int the group stages for the second season running will begin on 11 or 12 July and finish on 22 or 23 August.
Speaking at a Celtic Q&A, Rodgers assured fans the club will not be selling their star striker before that time.
When Dembele first arrived at Celtic Park, Rodgers envisioned the youngster staying for two years before being sold on.
The Parkhead club are guaranteed to make a huge profit on the player they signed from Fulhan for a compensation fee around £500,000.
Despite reported interest in the Frenchman from some of the biggest clubs in Europe, Rodgers still maintains Dembele will likely be a Celtic player until the summer of 2018.
He said: “I believed when Moussa came that he probably had two-year cycle. That’s what I saw. For me, I still think that’s the case. All the conversations I have with him I have no doubt he loves it here.
“He needs another year of Champions League experience and the confidence of scoring goals and playing for such a big club, and probably then it’ll be time to fly.
“That’s the modern game. The big clubs in Europe are always crying out for a centre forward.
“It’s just a natural process where if you’re on X amount of money and someone offers you Y amount of money, and the club get offered a ridiculous amount of money then you have to respect that.
“That’s unfortunate. I don’t like it. For me, this is a big club and we should never have to sell anyone. But because of money that is not the reality.
“If it’s the right thing to do and all parties are happy then it’s our job to make sure we’ve got the next one coming in.
“To circle it back, he’ll certainly be here right up until Champions League qualification. If there’s interest then we’ll sit down and talk about it.”
• The full Q&A is available via the 20 Minute Tims podcast. You can follow them on Twitter here.