CELTIC Assistant Manager Chris Davies spoke to to the media at Glasgow Airport earlier today before jetting off to Celtic’s winter training base in Dubai.
The articulate Davies, provided an update on a number of crucial images including news on Kouassi Eboue’s transfer and also confirmed that the quoted £20million bid from West Ham – if it ever arrives – does not meet the club’s valuation of the player.
‘We are hoping to improve base fitness levels,’ Davies stated when asked about the Dubai training trip. ‘We’ve had a very good first 6 months and it has comes at a good time for us.
‘We have played 44 games in what has been a real intense period,’ the Assistant gaffer said. ‘We got through it and finished it on Hogmanay with fantastic performance and result at Ibrox.’
After the victory in the Glasgow Derby, where Celtic for the third time this season game back in the league from going a goal down to win the match, the squad were due a well earned break.
‘The players had a week’s rest to recover both physically and mentally,’ Davies explained. ‘Now we want to top up fitness and this is a good opportunity to work on coaching elements.’
Davies then explained the current situation concerning Kouassi Eboue’s transfer to the club, which completely blindsided the Scottish media. Celtic are awaiting the player’s Work Permit Appeal being approved before officially announcing the transfer.
‘We are hoping everything goes well, said Davies. ‘We completely respect work permit appeal and process. He is a talented young midfield player but until that’s official we completely respect that process.’
Davies confirmed that Eboue will travel to Dubai with the squad but won’t take part in the training until all the paperwork is sorted. ‘He Travelled out but won’t be doing anything with us until hopefully he gets a work permit organised.
‘It’s important that we make it clear that we respect completely the appeal and the process.’
On the news that West Ham had bid £20million for Celtic’s sensational young striker Moussa Dembele, Davies confirmed that, as CQN stated last night, that there has been no formal bids for the player, and that the sum quoted is well below the club’s valuation of France’s best young player.
‘That’s definitely well below his valuation that’s for sure but there has been no formal bid,’ Davies confirmed.
Celtic are in no hurry to sell the player as the Assistant Manager explained. ‘The message has been pretty clear from the manager, we know this is the best place for Moussa to develop and improve.
‘He has had a fantastic first 6 months and he has loved it. There’s so much more to come from us as a team and from Moussa Dembele at Celtic.
‘When you are doing well, especially as a striker, there will be talk of big money bids thrown around especially in transfer windows. We can’t control that and we just need to concentrate on helping Moussa develop as a player and focusing on the next game,’ said Davies.
‘It’s all paper talk and speculation. Moussa is happy and we are working hard, and that’s that.’
‘We are looking to build a squad that can continue to dominate domestically and can compete well in Europe.’
Brendan Rodgers is keen to reduce the overall size of his squad and stated this from the off back in May. This second transfer window may be a chance to get some players not in the manager’s plans off the wage bill with either transfers or loans being organised.
Conversely Rodgers may well look to improve the quality of the squad further with a second signing to add to the arrival of Kouassi Eboue, subject to the aforementioned Work Permit Appeal.
‘There will may well be activity but it has to be the right build for the club,’ Davies explained.
Dedryck Boyata and Nadir Ciftci are two players who have been linked with moves away from Paradise. ‘They haven’t played as much as they would have liked so logical to think there might be a move away for them,’ said Davies.
One player who is going nowhere is Celtic’s transformed midfield powerhouse Stuart Armstrong who is enjoying his football again and having a sensational season under the new management team.
Armstrong is on the verge of agreeing a new and improved long term contract at the club that will see him stay at Celtic to lead the drive for 10 in a Row.
Speaking about the former Dundee United player’s contract extension Davies was hopeful it would all go through. ‘That’s something would be a positive for the club,’ believes the Assistant Manager.
‘Stuart has done fantastically well over the past few months, really developed in the way we would like.
We have been really impressed with his development and personality so that would be really positive news if that could be done. The manager has made it clear to the player that he values him.’
Davies confirmed that Efe Ambrose is not travelling to Dubai with the squad due to an immigration issue, but stated that Kieran Tierney will be on the trip to progress his rehab, as the player gets closer to returning to full fitness.
‘Hopefully Kieran will build into full training over next few weeks.’