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7th Jan, 2017 | 8:13am

Petrov delivers Dembele verdict, compares Celtic ace to PL big guns

Original word count: 263 words

By Matt Farr

Celtic legend Stiliyan Petrov insists star goalscorer Moussa Dembele is worth at least £25 million.

The Mirror reported on Thursday that Premier League outfit West Ham had submitted an offer worth £20 million for the striker’s services.

Dembele has spent just six months at Celtic, having arrived from Fulham in the summer as Brendan Rodgers’ first signing for the club.

He has since made a monumental impact, netting 19 goals from 36 appearances in all competitions.

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His performances have drawn high praise, and with several top clubs circling in January, Petrov insists that Celtic should hold out for a big-money offer.

The four-time Scottish title-winning midfielder claimed that Dembele was in the same league as Premier League goalscoring duo Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke, insisting that the 20-year-old could fetch a similar fee.

Benteke joined Crystal Palace for £27 million in the summer, while Lukaku moved from Chelsea to Everton for £28 million in July 2014.

Petrov told the Daily Record: “I would value Moussa Dembele at £25 million. Look around world football and you see similar types of striker going for those transfer fees.

“Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku are the two who really remind me of Dembele. They are big, powerful, put themselves about and score goals. Those two went for similar fees and Celtic should ask for £25m.

“I have been very impressed with Dembele. I saw when he played in England and there was a lot of talk about him back then. I am impressed by the way he is developing and the way he is playing for Celtic.”

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers would certainly like to keep hold of his star performer, as they attempt to lift their sixth consecutive Scottish Premier League title.

Rodgers also wants to build a team that can challenge on the European stage, having failed to progress beyond the Champions League group-stages since the 2007-8 season, when they were eliminated in the knockout-stages.

His stance has been made clear by his rejection of West Ham’s offer, and it remains to be seen if the Hammers will return with an improved bid.

In other Celtic news, Tottenham are now said to be interested in signing Dembele.