Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has spoken for the first time about the Christmas morning rumours suggesting that Moussa Dembele was on his way to Brighton and Hove Albion for a fee of £18 million.
The speculation was branded ‘nonsense’ by a Celtic insider, with Rodgers today insisting that the French striker was ‘still very much a Celtic player’.
Speaking to BT Sport ahead of Dundee’s Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match with Celtic, Rodgers said: “I was made aware of [the story] by some family members asking me if it was true or not.
“It was the first I’d heard of it. Moussa [Dembele], at this stage, is still very much a Celtic player.”
Asked by BT Sport if he expected Dembele to remain at the club with the January transfer window just around the corner, Rodgers was pragmatic in his response.
“It’s normal when you’ve got good players and talented players,” he said.
“With all due respect, Celtic is a club that, at times, will lose some of its players.
“But at this moment in time the squad is very much intact and we want to add to it over the course of the January [transfer] window.
“I could never stand here and say that someone is definitely going to be here, because you could get a ridiculous bid for a player, or a situation arises where a player is offered much more in wages and they want to go.
“But at this moment in time, the spirit of the group is very strong, very happy.”
Dembele was named amongst the substitutes for the trip to Dens Park, with Leigh Griffiths getting the nod up front.