By Alex Stevens
Alan Pardew has revealed he wanted to sign Celtic sensation Moussa Dembele when he was the manager of Crystal Palace.
The experienced Premier League manager made the revelation as he explained how Brendan Rodgers has made a big impact on the careers of the players at Parkhead this summer.
Celtic have domestically swept all before them, winning the Scottish Premiership in record time on the back of an unbeaten run as well as the Scottish League Cup.
The Hoops are eyeing the domestic treble and will move one step closer if they can beat bitter rivals Rangers in Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden.
Dembele has not scored in over a month but he has had an outstanding debut season, scoring 32 goals in 48 matches in all competitions.
“Brendan has lots of experience and a confidence about him now and that rubs off on the players like Dembele,” Pardew told the Scottish Sun.
“I saw him many times at Fulham. We talked about him when I was at Palace, but financially we didn’t think we would be able to do it at that time.
“He had great potential, and has fulfilled that to some degree at Celtic. He’s clearly got a very bright future.
“It will be difficult for Celtic to keep hold of him, probably more so than Brendan actually.
“I see Brendan staying for at least another year and if he has similar success then the powers-that-be at Celtic will have to work ever so hard to retain his services.”
Dembele, 20, is expected to lead the line for Celtic against Rangers on Sunday and continue his run of goals in marquee fixtures.
The France striker marked his Old Firm debut with a hat-trick earlier in the season and also scored twice in the Champions League against Manchester City.
In other Celtic transfer news, the club are in an all-out battle with Premier League big hitters over signing of £7million player of the year contender.