26 Dec Players will go if the price is right
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers accepts it would be “morally” difficult to stop Moussa Dembele or any other players leaving the club if wages and the fee are right for all concerned.
The Northern Irishman claimed there was “nothing” in speculation that an £18million move to Brighton for the 21-year-old French striker had been agreed.
Dembele started on the bench in the Hoops’ 2-0 win over Dundee at Dens Park which took the champions 11 points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership.
In-form wide-man James Forrest opened the scoring from close range in the eighth minute and former Dundee striker Leigh Griffiths added a second before the break, with Dembele – who moved to Parkhead from Fulham in 2016 on a four-year deal – making a cameo appearance near the end.
Rodgers, who was happy with “a very, very good performance”, was asked about Dembele after the match, and said: “I haven’t been informed about anything from the club. It is all part of the modern game.
“There will be interest, of course, but there is nothing in it.
“We don’t want to lose any players and we won’t lose any players. However, if there is something that comes in, it goes back to that issue, morally.
“If there is something where a player can earn five times as much as what he is on now, then it is very difficult to stop him, especially if you get a fee for a player.
“But there is a lot for that to happen, there is a lot that needs to be right.
“We don’t need to sell anyone – that is the idea.
“But what is always important at Celtic, especially when you are doing so well, you know there is always going to be interest and you have to prepare forward for the ‘What if?’
“And if we do lose any of our players for what I have just said, then we hope to have some to bring in to keep the continuation.”
Rodgers had no problem with Josh Meekings’ first-half tackle on Jonny Hayes, which saw the Hoops winger carried from the field on a stretcher with the Dundee defender also having to be replaced.
“There was nothing in it,” the former Swansea and Liverpool manager said. “Two tough players and let’s hope they are OK.
“I was looking directly at his (Hayes) fibula to see what state his leg was in but it must have just been the clash of shin-pads.
“But he was down so it was clearly hurting him.
“The medical team tell me he will go for an X-ray and we will see where it is at, but we are hoping it is only bruising of the shinbone.”
Dundee manager Neil McCann admitted his side lacked “a bit of aggression” and “bite” but stressed that Meekings’ clash with Hayes was just two “committed players” coming together.
“That is a 50-50,” he said. “Jonny was coming quick and was fully committed.
“I expect my centre-back to be fully committed as well, and unfortunately both players have come off injured.”