Celtic have enjoyed unrivalled supremacy in Scottish football in recent years with 7 straight SPFL titles, but the appointment of Steven Gerrard at Ibrox and the arrival of 12 new players has created a new dynamic in Glasgow.
Indeed, Rangers’ exile from the title race appears to be drawing to a close with Gerrard’s appointment. Naturally, there is still a long way to go before the Gers can genuinely claim to be on Celtic’s level, but they have taken a significant step in the right direction this summer.
Meanwhile Celtic have endured a disappointing opening to the campaign as they were dumped out of the Champions League by AEK Athens in the third qualifying round and they suffered an early season setback in their title defence by losing 1-0 away at Hearts.
All of the aforementioned factors have served to boost the optimism of their Old Firm rivals, and a recent transfer report concerning the future of Moussa Dembele suggests an early season twist could be on the horizon.
Accoring to L’Equipe, Lyon have held talks with Celtic over the transfer of Dembele as they search for a talented attacker to replace Mariano Diaz who has emerged as a prime target for Sevilla.
The report claims that Celtic would have been willing to sell Dembele for a fee in the region of 15-20 million euros (£13.6-18.1 million) just two weeks ago, but it’s unclear if that stance has changed in light of the Hoops’ elimination from the Champions League.
And Brendan Rodgers admitted earlier today that reports from France are based on fact rather than speculation with Lyon showing a “big interest” in signing their crown jewel, as per BBC.
Despite the fact Celtic have managed to secure Odsonne Edouard on a permanent deal and have Leigh Griffiths available at centre-forward, the decision to sell Dembele would be an incredibly foolish one for the club to make before the deadline.
Not only would it suggest that Celtic are a selling club, but it would remove a layer of quality from their attack which is so pivotal to their success, further enhancing the growing feeling of optimism at Ibrox.
The importance of keeping Dembele in what has been a mildly turbulent few weeks at Celtic Park simply cannot be underestimated, so Celtic should snub any further interest shown by Lyon in the final days of the transfer window unless they have a quality replacement lined up to replace him.
Celtic fans – thoughts? Let us know below!