• READ MORE - Celtic reject “significant offer” for Moussa Dembele
What did Brendan Rodgers say?
Ahead of Celtic’s Europa League play-off match against FK Suduva, Rodgers told BBC Scotland: “We don’t want Moussa to go and I can’t see it happening.”
Earlier this week, French Ligue 1 side Lyon made contact with Dembele who expressed an interest in moving back to his homeland.
Which clubs are interested in Moussa Dembele?
Just about every major club in Europe has been credited with an interest in the former PSG youngster at some point but Lyon are the front-runners at this moment in time.
Lyon’s league rivals Marseille are understood to be keen on the striker’s services while Borussia Dortmund and Schalke in Germany are also keeping tabs on the situation, according to reports in France and Germany.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Lazio, Everton, West Ham, Roma, Brighton and Spurs have all been linked with the striker since he joined Celtic in the summer of 2016.
Have any clubs submitted bids?
Yes - presumably the “significant offer” this evening was from Lyon, and comments from the club’s president Jean-Michel Aulas suggest that they could well come back with an improved offer.
Les Gones have plenty of money to play with, as striker Mariano Diaz has completed a return to Real Madrid just 12 months after he left the Santiago Bernabeu for France.
The French side received around £33 million from the Spanish giants, so the Ligue 1 side are not short of cash if they are serious about Dembele.
Marseille have already splashed out on Duje Ćaleta-Car and Kevin Strootman, but attempted to sweeten Celtic by offering players in a part-exchange deal.
However, Valere Germain refused to leave Marseille when his hometown club attempted to use the 28-year-old as a makeweight in a deal, while Celtic are understood to have rejected a cash-plus-player deal that would have seen ex-Tottenham Hotspur winger Clinton N’Jie head to Scotland.
Do Celtic want to sell?
The short answer is “no” - primarily because it would leave the club virtually no time to bring in a replacement.
Brendan Rodgers said yesterday: “He is not going to be here forever, it was all part of his plan to come in like it is sometimes for a lot of European boys - they come in to develop and improve at a great club and then look to move on.
“But of coure it has to work both ways; we don’t want to be losing a top class player without having a replacement.”
Tonight he added: “We don’t want Moussa to go and I can’t see it happening.”
If Dembele left, Celtic would have just two senior strikers in Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths available - and Edouard has also been left out of tonight’s squad as he continues his comeback from injury.
Does the player want to leave?
The ex-Fulham forward isn’t trying to force through a move, but is reportedly interested in a return to his homeland.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said tonight: “We need to find an agreement with Celtic for Dembele. It is very difficult with Celtic, we are going to continue to negotiate all night and tomorrow to bring in a new player.”
A move to France would presumably further his chances of breaking into the France national team squad, and he could have the chance to play regular Champions League football - which Lyon can offer him this season.
Will he go before the deadline?
Reports in France claim a five-year deal awaits Dembele at the Groupama Stadium, and that the player would get the green light to leave if the Hoops were able to source a replacement.
But Rodgers was adamant that the player wouldn’t be leaving. With a little over 24 hours until the transfer deadline, a lot of pieces would have to fall into place if the deal was still to go through.