Neil Lennon is braced for a fraught last week of the transfer window after Swiss striker Albian Ajeti limped off the park during yesterday’s comprehensive 3-0 win over Hibs.
Ajeti’s injury again raises fears over the possible departure of Odsonne Edouard, the subject of so much transfer speculation. However, the Celtic manager stressed the club’s desire not to sell any player.
Edouard started on the bench yesterday, but the French striker replaced Ajeti after only 36 minutes. Ajeti sustained a suspected hamstring injury while scoring his side’s second goal. Callum McGregor struck Celtic’s first after seven minutes and Mohamed Elyounoussi completed the scoring with 11 minutes left.
While Leigh Griffiths made his return to the bench yesterday, it would be far from the ideal time for Lennon to see Edouard depart for pastures new.
The Celtic manager admitted he was having ongoing transfer discussions with Nick Hammond, the club’s head of football operations, in the hope he can add to his squad prior to the deadline a week today. He stressed his desire not to see anyone leave the club before the window shuts. As well as Edouard, defender Kristoffer Ajer is also interesting clubs. AC Milan are reported to be ready with a bid.
“I speak to Nick every day,” said Lennon. “We are spinning a few plates on a couple of players. We want to add maybe just one to the squad and keep everybody else.
“It’s going to be fraught because it’s the last week of the window. There could be a lot of people scrambling for players and we are not immune to that, but we don’t want to sell. We don’t want to sell anybody – I think we are quite strong on that at the minute.”
Lennon lamented the injury to Ajeti, whose fifth league goal of the season means he is the Premiership’s top scorer. “Ajeti looks like a hamstring strain, so hopefully that will only be a couple of weeks,” said the Celtic boss.
“He has not had a lot of football in the last 12 months and you can’t just throw him into game after game. It’s unfortunate because he is in great goalscoring form and we will definitely miss him.”
Lennon explained Edouard’s absence from the starting XI. “Albian and Mo are good players so I have no qualms about leaving Odsonne out and giving him a break,” he said. “We did that last weekend. He came on today and looked good. ”
Lennon was effusive about his side’s display against in-form Hibs as they made it six league wins in a row. He described it as one of the best performances he had seen as Celtic manager – in both his first and second spells in charge. “It was ten out of ten, the best of the season,” he said.
“I thought we were outstanding and I thought the football we played was brilliant. I’m pleased, it was a big game for us. Hibs came here having not dropped a point away from home. We were miles ahead in all departments.”
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