John Hartson: Celtic will improve chances of beating Zenit by making this transfer decision
Former Celtic striker John Hartson believes that if the Hoops sell Moussa Dembele in the January transfer window then it will jeopardise their chances of defeating Zenit in their upcoming Europa League clash.
The first leg of the tie is only two weeks away, and with Leigh Griffiths struggling with a calf injury Hartson thinks that it is vitally important that the Glasgow giants make the decision to not allow the French forward to transfer away from Parkhead this month.
“Zenit will probably start the game as favourites to advance in the tie over two legs but we also know the performances that Celtic are capable of,” Hartson said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.
“But if Celtic can get a positive result at Parkhead in the first leg and keep a clean sheet they will give themselves a real chance of going through.
“And having Dembele around for those games would certainly be an added bonus for Celtic because he is a quality striker, pure and simple.
“So I think it makes sense for Celtic to hold on to him now until the end of the season.”
The 21-year-old striker had a sensational first season in the Hoops, scoring 32 goals as the Bhoys won their first domestic treble since 2001 and also completed an unbeaten league campaign for the first time since the 1890s.
This season Dembele hasn’t been as prolific, scoring only nine goals so far as injuries and squad rotation have played their part in his lack of goals.
Brendan Rodgers has left the French under-21 international out of the Hoops starting line-up in recent weeks as he has been concerned that the speculation may have affected his game.
But with Griffiths suffering an injury in the 1-0 win over Hibernian, Dembele has the chance to establish himself as the Hoops’ number one striker once again, beginning against Hearts on Tuesday.
In other Celtic news, the Hoops seem set to complete the signing of Charly Musonda in the next 48 hours
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