COMMENT by Laura O’Leary
At only 21-years-old Moussa Dembele has certainly alerted everyone to his ability in the footballing world and it’s all thanks to his decision to move to Celtic.
The highly-rated striker has been subject to transfer interest in recent times from some of football’s biggest teams; such as Arsenal, Chelsea,Tottenham,Everton, Marseille, AC Milan and that’s not naming all of them.
Yet, he has opted to stay at Celtic Park.
Some of these team’s were also interested in acquiring his service from Fulham, as it was well known he would be available cheaply as his contract was running out at The Cottagers.
Yet, he did not move to the Premier League or even Ligue 1, he chose Celtic for all the right reasons.
The striker weighed up his options, and while he probably got a generous contract as well, he knew Celtic was a team that would actually grant him first-team options.
He made the move to the Bhoys in July 2016, and in his short time he has won several trophies.
The U-21 French international has even tasted European football at the club playing 16 games in the Champions League, including the qualification rounds.
If he had, for example gone to Manchester United from Fulham, it’s fair to say he wouldn’t have garnered the same level of experience domestically let alone in Europe’s top competition.
Experience which has benefited him greatly and he has fulfilled the potential once seen at Fulham.
A comparison can be made between Dembele and his now Celtic teammate Patrick Roberts, because he had a similar decision to make and he chose poorly.
Roberts was also tipped for great things at Fulham, and was under utilised by the club during a turbulent time for all at the Cottage.
The midfielder had to make a decision about his future a whole year before Dembele and at a younger age.
Big spending Manchester City opted to successfully bid for the player, and add him to their already packed squad.
Roberts agreed terms and joined the Premier League giants – to this day he has appeared three times for them, with his total playing time being 54 minutes.
Luckily for Roberts after seven months of his development being stunted, Celtic loaned the star and he has not looked back.
Celtic have given him a platform, just like the one they gave Dembele, to prove himself week in and week out domestically while also getting an opportunity in the Champions League.
The 20-year-old still has plenty of time to fulfill his potential, though he is contracted to Manchester City until 2020, so another period of disappointment could hit him.
Now it’s fair to say the Premier League has a more glamorous reputation than the Scottish Premier League but with Celtic pretty much always guaranteed European football, the club provide a stage for a youngster like no other.
The Dembele and Roberts comparison proves that other hot prospects need to consider Celtic ahead of Premier League or big teams from other European league, even if there’s vocal criticism for the quality of the SPL.
In other Celtic news, the Hoops are in a transfer tussle with a Bundesliga club for this goal-a-game forward.