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Sunday 22 January 2017

Tug of war for Celtic

Rodgers tries to fasten Bhoys' claims on teen star Dembele

Celtic’s teen sensation Karamoko Dembele is in hot demand by top clubs despite his tender age of just 13
Celtic’s teen sensation Karamoko Dembele is in hot demand by top clubs despite his tender age of just 13

Having held Manchester City to a 1-1 stalemate at the Etihad last night, Brendan Rodgers has told teenage sensation Karamoko Dembele he should dream of playing against City in the Champions League, rather than for them.

City are leading the chase for the 13-year-old who is already the subject to a tug-of-war between England and Scotland at international level. Chelsea also want to sign Dembele, while Ajax believe that they can offer him the best development programme.

But Celtic are desperate to keep hold of their most talented prospect in a generation, who joined them three years ago at the age of 10.

Rodgers has told Dembele and his family to look to the example of Moussa Dembele, Celtic's unrelated striker, who has impressed in the Celtic first team this season.

Celtic signed Moussa Dembele from Fulham last summer, and this season he has been a revelation in both the Scottish Premier League and Champions League for Rodgers' side.

Karamoko Dembele is still a long way from first-team football, and does not even turn 14 until February.

But Celtic are desperate to prove to him that he has a quick route to the first team at Parkhead, which is why they made the surprising decision to play him in an U20 game in October. Dembele was playing with players up to seven age-groups older than him.

Meanwhile, Patrick Roberts scored against his parent club as Celtic held Manchester City to a 1-1 draw in their final Champions League Group C game last night.

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