Davie Hay reckons there is now way Brendan Rodgers will allow Moussa Dembele to leave Celtic for a bargain fee.
There was a lot of speculation following the French Under-21 international striker’s stroll off the pitch when he was substituted in the goalless draw against Sevco Rangers just before the turn of the year.
However, the former Hoops player and manager insisted no-one should read too much into it.
Hay said: “Moussa Dembele’s decision to head up the tunnel to shower and change said more about his performance than it did about any perceived lack of respect to his team-mates.
“If he had not re-emerged from the changing room, then that might have been different.
“But the fact that he came back out suggests to me that the person he was really annoyed with more than anyone was himself.
“He didn’t perform anywhere to the level of which he is capable and never did himself justice in the game.
“The fact that he needed the number 68 bus to get him off the pitch is nothing new. He seems to take an age to stroll off whenever he is being substituted.
“To me, there was nothing untoward in the way he left the pitch other than an indication of his own frustration.”
Rodgers has admitted there have been no bids for last season’s 32-goal man and Hay added: “I think we can say that there will be options for him to take.
“However, Celtic are in a position where they absolutely do not need to sell.
“Allowing someone to take the striker on the cheap is never going to happen.
“Dembele will not be allowed to go unless the asking price of the club is met.
“And, while I suspect that there will be a few more who leave the club either on loan or permanently, I still maintain that Celtic will look to come out of this window stronger than when they went into it.
“Erik Sviatchenko’s exit seems inevitable after his failure to get into the team and the fact that he still feels he has an outside chance of making it to Russia this summer with Denmark will mean he will be unwilling to waste any time.
“Jozo Simunovic’s situation has also been mentioned and the fact that Kristoffer Ajer has come in and played so well of late might offer food for thought.
“With Marvin Compper in already, there will at least be one or two options at the back now.
“But the big problem in this window is getting exactly what you want and need.
“Celtic have a bit of money from the Champions League and there will be the kickback from Virgil van Dijk, but when the market level in £200million then it is impossible to compete.
“We all know the situation that Celtic are in.
“I think everyone understands it, but, at the same time, people want to see top drawer talent arrive, it is not always possible given the disparity of resources.
“It can be extremely difficult to bring in a target that you would like and I am sure Brendan Rodgers will have a list of those he would like to bring in for certain positions.
“There has been talk of a creative midfield player, the type of player who can really open up a game, but the problem is not identifying one, but getting one that is affordable and suits Celtic’s criteria.
“What it does mean is that there is an element of a gamble whenever you go to bring someone into the club.
“Over the piece, I think you would have to hold up Celtic’s record as pretty impressive.”
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