Celtic have not enjoyed the most promising of openings to the new campaign, but they could rewrite a few wrongs this evening by seeing off the challenge of Lithuanian outfit FK Suduva at Celtic Park.
Indeed, the Hoops’ elimination from the Champions League served to tarnish much of the optimism of the supporters ahead of the new season. A chance of minor redemption is staring Celtic in the face tonight as they prepare to face FK Suduva, but their pre-match preparation has been overshadowed somewhat by reports linking Moussa Dembele with a move away from the club.
The French talisman has been a pivotal figure for the club since he signed on a free transfer from Fulham in 2006 and it appears the quality of his development has attracted interest from abroad. Brendan Rodgers admitted yesterday that there is “big interest” in Dembele from Lyon (via BBC), whilst Marseille are also believed to be in the running for his signature before the deadline passes tomorrow, according to Evening Times.
With just two strikers on their books aside from Dembele, it’s a concerning time for Celtic who are desperately short of time to identify a replacement. But they simply must find a talented centre-forward to step into Dembele’s shoes before the deadline as their failure to do so could have disastrous consequences on their title ambitions.
With that being said, Rodgers should target a permanent deal for Dominic Solanke and offer him the chance to kick start his career with the Scottish champions. Solanke joined Liverpool from Chelsea last summer but he has failed to break into the first-team thus far due to the electric form of Roberto Firminho at the spearhead of the attack, but he has shown flashes of brilliance which suggest he has an incredibly bright future in the game.
When Jose Mourinho was watching Solanke come through the academy ranks at Chelsea in 2015, he stated “My conscience tells me that if, for example, (Lewis) Baker, (Izzy) Brown, and Solanke are not national team players in a few years, I should blame myself,” – high praise indeed from the special one.
Mourinho’s admission turned prophetic in November 2017 as Solanke was handed his first England cap by Gareth Southgate during a friendly against Brazil, but that remains his only appearance for the national side to date.
Evidently, Solanke is a player who is on the brink of blossoming into a clinical goal-scorer, but until he is handed the opportunity to showcase his talent on a regular basis he will continue to stagnate.
With Dembele likely to depart in the next 48 hours, an opportunity to claim a starting berth at Celtic will naturally open up, paving the way for Solanke to make it his own.
At just 20-years-of-age Solanke possesses a level of potential which would help Celtic forget all about Dembele, so Rodgers must do everything in his power to secure a last minute permanent deal before the window slams shut.
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