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DEMBELE DILEMMA

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KARAMOKO DEMBELE is 16 years old, has yet to start a first team game with Celtic and is under contract at the club until June 2021.

Undoubtedly, there is a huge future for the effervescent forward following his remarkable substitute appearance at the age of 13 in the Hoops Under-20s side. That came role catapulted him into the headlines.

Overnight, the London-born winger, immediately tagged a “wonderboy”, was on the radar of top European sides and in the past week he has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.

THE HIGHS…Karamoko Dembele holds aloft the Scottish Cup after his role on the subs’ bench at Hampden in May.

Arsenal are also getting a mention and have already plundered Parkhead for homegrown talent in the shape of Kieran Tierney who quit in the summer in a record-breaking £25million switch.

Older Celtic fans will remember Charlie Nicholas being tempted to Highbury in the eighties.

Dembele, who moved to Scotland at the age of one with his Ivorian parents, agreed his contract extension last year and made his first appearance in the last Premiership game of the season when he came on at the start of the second-half for on-loan Oliver Burke in the 2-1 win over Hearts at Parkhead.

He also got a place on the substitutes’ bench for the Scottish Cup Final against the Edinburgh team a week later.

Injury has slowed down his progress this time around although he trained with the first team last week as they prepared for the game at Livingston on Sunday.

THE LOWS…Karamoko Dembele is sent crashing to the turf after a wayward challenge.

If the teenager listens to the transfer talk that is already swirling around it could hinder his advancement in the game and that will pose a problem for Lennon who has wrapped the exciting attacker in cotton wool since his arrival in February.

Dembele’s headway cannot be allowed to be derailed by events outside Celtic and the Hoops gaffer will play a part in that unwanted situation.

The champions are powerless to prevent the transfer speculation, but it must be hoped the player can enjoy game time at Parkhead before he has to make a massive decision in the summer of 2021 when enticing contracts will certainly come into play.

Let’s hope the Celtic supporters get the opportunity to witness the skills of a gifted entertainer before he is whisked away.

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