Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Moussa Dembele and his representatives were at Celtic Park holding talks with the club as the French striker missed training amid interest from Lyon.
Lyon club president Jean-Michel Aulas said in a quote posted on Lyon’s official Twitter account: “We are interested in Dembele. We got in touch with him, he’s interested. It’s a possible path, but there are others.”
The 22-year-old wasn’t present as Rodgers put his squad through their paces ahead of tomorrow night’s Europa League play-off round second leg tie against FK Suduva and is understood to have missed a team meeting as well.
Rodgers confirmed “big interest” from one club in Dembele and revealed that the player was discussing his future while his team-mates trained at Lennoxtown.
Rodgers would not confirm whether Lyon were the club he was referring to but confirmed his other French striker Odsonne Edouard was back in training after recovering from a knock.
He said: “Moussa and his representatives were speaking to the club today. He’s not a player we want to lose, he’s a phenomenal talent.
“He’s not going to be here forever. Like a lot of the European boys, they develop at a great club and look to move on.
“We don’t want to lose a top class player without having a replacement. There hasn’t been an official bid but there is interest. It’s the ‘what-if’ scenario.
“You always have to be prepared for that. That’s natural. It’s not an ideal situation, with a few days to go.
“It’s one where we hope to ensure by the end of the window we are strong. We are looking for players to come in and freshen up the squad and also fit in to what we are doing.
“There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes to try and improve the squad.”
It emerged this morning that Ligue 1 sides Lyon and Marseille are both keen to sign the France Under-21 international ahead of the transfer deadline.
Lyon are thought to be preparing a bid of at least £15 million, and are desperately seeking attacking reinforcements following Mariano Diaz’s return to Real Madrid.
The forward only joined 12 months ago but his form for Lyon has prompted Real to re-sign him, with Lyon expected to bank around £25 million for the striker.
Although the Hoops are reluctant to sell Dembele, reports in France suggest that Lyon could make a bid for Dembele before the deadline.
The player is not looking to leave Celtic but is thought to be open to a return to France and the chance to play Champions League football and force his way into the national team.
Lyon could still face competition from rivals Marseille, who have been monitoring Dembele for most of the last few months, and had him watched in Celtic’s 1-0 win over Hamilton last weekend.
• READ MORE - Lyon join chase for Celtic striker Moussa Dembele
OM were dealt a blow when striker Valere Germain refused to be included in a part-exchange deal, leaving Rudi Garcia’s side with a decision to make over Dembele.
Both sides could submit official bids before the transfer window slams shut.