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Rodgers makes Dembele admission amid stampede to Celtic door

By Matt Farr

Brendan Rodgers insists star striker Moussa Dembele is not for sale in January but admits Celtic will have to cash in on him within a short period.

Dembele, 20, has been Celtic’s leading figure this season, contributing an incredible 17 goals from 29 appearances in all competitions.

His superb form in front of goal has attracted interest from the Premier League, with Manchester United and Chelsea keen on bringing the former Fulham man back to the top-flight.

However, Rodgers – who made Dembele his first signing as Celtic boss – has issued a hands-off warning, but did concede that they wouldn’t be able to keep hold of him forever.

He told TalkSport: “I don’t think it will be January. At Celtic, you know how it is. We know how it is. If we get a really talented player there’s probably a cycle of a couple of years with them.

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“You look at Victor [Wanyama], Virgil van Dijk, Ki [Sung-Yueng] – they come up here and it’s a great platform for them to demonstrate their qualities, but then the likelihood is they get a better offer, financially, and they move down south.

“With Moussa, I think that was always going to be the case.

“But the difference now with Celtic is that Moussa doesn’t need to go to, with all due respect, a bottom-end Premier League team, because he’s playing for a big club in front of 60,000 fans a week.”

A French youth international, Dembele has also burst onto the France U21 scene, scoring four goals in four appearances. He has made over 30 youth caps from the u16’s through to the U21 setup.

If he can maintain his current level of performance, it is only a matter of time before he catches the eye of senior team boss Didier Deschamps.

Dembele will look to continue his form and give Partick Thistle the run around when the two sides meet on Friday night.

Celtic are top of the Scottish Premiership, eight points clear of rivals Rangers in second. They are still unbeaten in the competition, having won 12 of their 13 games so far.

In other Celtic transfer news, Rodgers is also bracing himself to receive offers for 13-year-old sensation Karamoko Dembele.