JEREMIE FRIMPONG is on the brink of a sensational £11.5million move to Bayer Leverkusen.
The switch is likely to be completed within the next 24 hours with the 20-year-old Dutchman making a sharp exit for the Bundesliga club.
Neil Lennon revealed the reasons Frimpong is quitting Parkhead with the popular player’s quickfire exit another jolt for Hoops fans who took the Dutchman to their hearts after his debut in the 5-0 Betfred League Cup win over Partick Thistle at Parkhead on September 25 2019 – just over three weeks after his arrival.
The Amsterdam-born youngster joined the Hoops in an initial £300,000 deal which will rise to £1million from Manchester City. The Etihad club also have a 20 per cent sell-on clause in the contract on any profit Celtic make on a transfer.
HEAD BOWED…Jeremie Frimpong can’t hide his disappointment as Celtic toil this season.
Under-pressure Lennon, who is preparing his team for tomorrow night’s Premiership visit of Hamilton Accies, told STV: “Jeremie is abroad at the minute speaking to a club. That deal looks like it may go through.
“This hasn’t appeared in the last couple of days, this has been in the background for the last six or seven weeks.
“The club have made great strides to renegotiate with Jeremie and his representatives, but the player made it clear to me, to the board, that he wanted to leave.
“I wouldn’t say he was unhappy, just ambitious maybe or he wanted to try something else to progress his career at another club.
“We got a really robust offer from a club for Jeremie and the club felt it was good business. When the player makes it clear he would prefer to play his football elsewhere, that was a decision we all agreed to take.”
Lennon continued: “That’s football sometimes, when a player makes it clear that he would prefer to go elsewhere then you have to look at it and think is this the right thing to do, is this the right sort of deal for us and ticks all the boxes, really.
“We are disappointed to lose him. But he has come in for £300,000 and we could sell him for a huge amount of money, but it is credit to the development of the player himself, myself and the coaches and what the club have done for him that a couple of top European clubs have shown interest in him.”
HAMPDEN HOORAYS…Jeremie Frimpong with the newly-won League Cup in December 2019.
Lennon does not expect to lose any more players from his squad before this window closes on Monday.
He added: “Negotiations are ongoing at the minute and will see how that pans out, but I don’t envisage anyone else going out the door.
“We are obviously disappointed, we did everything we could to try and entice the player to stay, but he made it clear quite a while ago that his ambition was to leave.”
Frimpong won his first medal at the club when Christopher Jullien claimed the only goal of the Betfred League Cup Final last season. The youngster was sent off with half-an-hour still to play when he fouled Alfredo Morelos for a penalty-kick. Thankfully, Fraser Forster saved the spot-kick from the Colombian.
He also picked up a Premiership medal when the Hoops sealed nine in a row and came on as a substitute for Mohamed Elyounoussi in the 82nd minute in the delayed Scottish Cup Final against Hearts where the holders won 4-3 in the penalty shoot-out after a 3-3 draw following extra-time.
Anthony Ralston, who played in the goalless draw against Livingston, could take the No.2 role against Accies tomorrow night.