CELTIC will have shipped out the remarkable total of TWELVE players who were involved in last season’s historic treble treble – if Kieran Tierney and Scott Sinclair quit the champions before tonight’s English transfer deadline at 5pm.
The 22-year-old Scotland international left-back is about to bring a halt to the £25million saga with Arsenal by agreeing a four-year contract with the London outfit.
Sinclair, who has scored 62 goals for the club since his £4.5million switch from Aston Villa in August 2016, was left out of Neil Lennon’s 18-man squad for the 1-1 draw against Cluj in the Champions League qualifier in Romania last night.
That kicked off speculation he was about to return to England and newly-promoted Sheffield United and Championship outfit Preston have been linked with the 30-year-old forward along with Middlesbrough and Stoke City in recent weeks.
FAREWELL…Moussa Dembele was the first to quit the Hoops in August last year.
Moussa Dembele, of course, was the first to move after only six appearances – in which he scored three goals – when he was lured back to France with Lyon paying a record £19.8million for the powerful hitman – a deal which will be eclipsed today if there are no late snags in Tierney’s departure.
Since Odsonne Edouard chipped the Scottish Cup winner beyond Hearts keeper Bobby Zlamal on May 25 to seal the unprecedented nine domestic honours in a magical three-year spell there has been an exodus of talent through the Parkhead exit.
Dedryck Boyata didn’t figure at Hampden as the Belgian World Cup centre-back had made it clear in January he had no intention of remaining at the club and he duly signed for Bundesliga mid-table outfit Hertha Berlin at the end of his contract.
Filip Benkovic (Leicester City), Jeremy Toljan (Borussia Dortmund), Timothy Weah (Paris Saint-Germain) and Oliver Burke (West Brom) all returned to their parent clubs.
FINAL FLING…Mikael Lustig in action against Hearts in the 2-1 Scottish Cup triumph in May, his last appearance for Celtic.
Swedish international right-back Mikael Lustig was not satisfied with the offer of a one-year extension and left to join Belgian outfit Gent.
Defenders Cristian Gamboa and Emilio Izaguirre departed the scene at the end of their contracts, too, and veteran Dutch keeper Dorus De Vries, who was on the substitutes’ bench as back-up to Scott Bain in the run-in to the unprecedented campaign, retired from playing last month and will now concentrate on coaching.
Tierney and Sinclair could take that tally to 12 and that does NOT include midfielder Scott Allan who agreed a pre-contract with Hibs in January and did not feature in the first team at all.
Lennon also scrapped the contracts of two of predecessor Brendan Rodgers’ recruits when Marvin Compper, the £1.2million purchase from RB Leipszig who did not even complete 90 minutes in the top side, and midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu, signed as a free agent, were told they did not have a future at Parkhead.
It’s been a whirlwind changeover at Celtic – and there is still business to be done.
Watch this space!