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RODGERS’ TRANSFER DECISIONS

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MOUSSA DEMBELE and Dedryck Boyata staying, Filip Benkovic and Youssouf Mulumbu arriving.

That was the news from Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers on a day of remarkable twists and turns in the transfer market.

After watching the Hoops overcome FK Suduva 3-0 for a 4-1 aggregate victory and a place in tomorrow’s Europa League group stage draw, the Irishman revealed he did not expect further movement at the champions.

Dembele’s expected exit was dramatically halted after Rodgers admitted the club had turned down a “substantial offer” from Lyon earlier in the day.

Now he is adamant the champions will not sell the striker or centre-back Boyata regardless of the bids between now and 12 o’clock tomorrow night.

Rodgers said: “I wouldn’t have thought there would be anything more. I always thought there was never going to be a big influx of players in this transfer window. It was key to keep the players we had. That was always going to be up there with the players coming in.

“You want to get a certain type of quality into the building. If we bring in a dominant centre-half and an aggressive midfield player, time might run out for anything else. So, we’ll just go with that and get on with it.”

Croatian Benkovic, 21, was at Parkhead this evening to watch Leigh Griffiths score his 100th goal for the club in the 3-0 win over the Lithuanians and is poised to agree a season-long loan deal.

The centre-back was signed by Leicester for £13million earlier this month, but the Premier League side are prepared to allow the defender to get game time elsewhere.

Rodgers said: “He’s a young guy with a bright future at Leicester, but we’ll hopefully take him on loan and develop his game. He is a big threat in both boxes, a big presence and that’s something I think the team needs.”

Congolese international enforcer Mulumbu, 31, is on the brink of signing a two-year deal. He has been a free agent since quitting Kilmarnock at the end of May following a short-term contract at the Ayrshire outfit.

He joined his former West Brom boss Steve Clarke at Rugby Park and made a big impression on Rodgers after he scored the only goal of the game to beat the Hoops in February.

The Celtic gaffer added: “What I’ve been after over the course of the summer was a number eight, a strong running aggressive midfield player.

“Youssouf showed in his time up here last season that he was outstanding. He came up with good legs and good energy and he’s got great experience.

“Obviously, I saw him down in the Premier League and he’s a very good player. He has had options and took his time to asses everything.

“But for us to get someone of that experience in – of that quality – is great as it will help a lot of our younger players.”

 
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