JEREMIE FRIMPONG could cost Celtic an extra £650,000 by the end of the season – but Neil Lennon and the Hoops hierarchy will not be complaining.
The Amsterdam-born 18-year-old right-back made his debut in the 5-0 Betfred League Cup quarter-final triumph over Championship strugglers Partick Thistle at Parkhead last night.
The dynamic youngster settled in straight away and won the Man of the Match accolade after a memorable baptism.
Frimpong arrived for an initial £350,000 four-year switch from Manchester City on transfer deadline day, but add-ons will take that fee to £1million. It looks as though the eight-in-a-row champions will be coughing up by the end of the campaign if he maintains this sort of impressive form in his performances in the top side.
Lennon praised his players after the romp into the semi-final and a November meeting with Hibs at Hampden, but he singled out “crowd-pleaser” debutant Jeremie Frimpong for a special mention.
The Hoops gaffer, speaking to BBC Sport, said: “He took the opportunity and was excellent.
“He’s really impressed us in training and it was a great debut for him. He’s very quick, strong for his size and very good on the ball.
“We’re hoping for big things from Jeremie as he goes along.
“I thought he was very good, very infectious. What you saw is what we’re seeing in training. He took the opportunity to play off the back of Moritz Bauer being out. He can be delighted with his night’s work and it’s a good start.
“Frimpong is battling for a first-team place. As soon as we brought him in, he has excelled. We feel he could be a really good player here.”
Right-back looked as though it could be a problem position for the team following the double exit of Mikael Lustig and Cristian Gamboa at the end of their contracts in the summer.
However, it now looks as though Lennon has THREE contenders for the No.2 slot – Frimpong, Bauer, on a season-long loan from Stoke City, and Hatem Abd Elhamed, who also arrived in £1.6million deal from Israeli outfit Hapoel Be’er Sheva in June.
The competition is now so strong the Hoops have been able to allow Scotland Under-21 full-back Anthony Ralston move to St Johnstone for the remainder of the campaign.