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Hoops lose Dembele on cusp of Old Firm battle

 

By Ronnie Esplin ·

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Moussa Dembele

Celtic have lost one of their star men just before the first Old Firm showdown of the season.

The Hoops completed the sale of star striker Moussa Dembele for £19.7m to Lyon just before the transfer window shut at midnight.

The 22-year-old scored 51 goals during his time in Glasgow and, though a return to his native France looked to have cooled when Celtic rejected an approach from Lyon on Thursday, the Ligue 1 side returned with an improved bid.

"Every decision we make at Celtic will always be in the best interests of the club and our supporters," said manager Brendan Rodgers last night.

"It is vital to make clear that we have never promised any player that he can leave the club at a particular time. It has never happened. In fact, we have said all along that we did not wish to sell Moussa, given the circumstances within the transfer window, and that is why we rejected a significant offer (on Thursday).

"However, this particular decision to accept this offer has been taken in order to serve the best interests of the first-team squad, my coaching team and the culture and environment we have created in these last two seasons.

"The board and myself are united and they have been very supportive to me on this issue."

Meanwhile, rumours have gathered pace that Northern Ireland international and former West Brom ace Gareth McAuley is set to join Rangers.

GERRARD'S TEST: Pages 50-51

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Moussa Dembele