BRENDAN RODGERS is enough of a realist to accept the inevitability of the Moussa Dembele situation.
The French striker, 22, is just into the third year of his Celtic contract, but is now ready for his £20million-plus move to Lyon.
Dembele, bought for under £500,000 from Fulham in a Development Fee by the Irishman in the summer of 2016, hit the headlines in a whirlwind first season at the Hoops with 32 goals.
A niggling hamstring injury kept his goal tally to 16 last term and he has hit three this time around.
Obviously, the timing of the transfer news is dreadful on the eve of a crucial Europa League play-off against FK Suduva and the visit of Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox outfit on Sunday.
But Rodgers acknowledged: “I think it’s understanding where Celtic is at. There’s no secret.
“It’s very difficult to build something here because every two years there is going to be recycle. That’s the way it is.
“Of course, you’d love to be able to say we want to keep some of these players for five, six, seven years, but it’s not the reality, especially now when players can get offered three or four times the money they are on here.
“It’s a really short career. I think it’s difficult for players. There comes a certain time.
“With Virgil van Dijk, there was a possibility the summer before for him to go. He played on for a year and then got his move.
“It’s worth mentioning that Moussa has been brilliant in my time here. It has been perfect.
“When I met with him a few years ago, I explained how it could go in terms of him improving and becoming a winner and showing that he can play at the highest level.
“All these steps have been taken. It’s something you have to deal with.
“It’s great that you have players with lots of value that can move on, but I think that Celtic is a club with cycles and this is the first of them in my time.
“It’s just timing. It’s unfortunate that it’s come at this time.”
Rodgers added: “They say about football management that you’re always in it, it depends how deep.
“Ankle deep, knee deep or neck deep? You’ve just got to keep it as low as you can.”