Brendan Rodgers vowed Celtic would not be selling any key players this month after rejecting Atletico Madrid’s bid for Matt O’Riley.
Rodgers described the LaLiga side’s offer for the Denmark midfielder as way below Celtic’s valuation but claimed the money was irrelevant with the club not needing to sell.
Celtic’s lead at the top of the cinch Premiership was cut to five points by Rangers’ win over Hibernian on Wednesday with the Ibrox club still holding one game in hand.
And Rodgers is keen to emerge from the window with a stronger squad rather than a weakened one.
“Matt is a player we don’t want to lose and he won’t be going anywhere in January,” Rodgers said.
“It’s a great testament to him and what the club can do for a player. He won his first international cap this season and Atletico Madrid are a big club in European football.
“But he is very much part of what we are doing. He has been a joy to work with and I had a good chat with Matt and he is someone who will be here for us in the second part of the season.”
The 23-year-old is pushing for Denmark’s Euro 2024 squad and appears happy to continue developing at Celtic Park. The former MK Dons player has produced 10 goals and 12 assists this season and recently extended his contract until 2027.
“It’s one of the things I have been really impressed with Matt, his mentality, his professionalism and the respect he has for Celtic,” Rodgers said.
“He had an opportunity in the summer but he was very happy to extend here and obviously Atletico Madrid is a huge club but he also knows he is in a great place here. He has really kicked on this season and he wants to continue with that.
“Firstly, you have a value of the player and certainly what has come in for Matt in the time I have been here is nowhere near the valuation of the quality of player he is. But even if it was we are in a position where we don’t want to sell.”
When asked if it would take a special offer to prise any of his key players away this month, Rodger said: “They won’t be going, it’s as simple as that. January is a difficult month anyway, whether it’s bringing players in or looking to sell players. It’s not something we want to do. We have no interest in that.”
Nicolas Kuhn is Celtic’s sole January signing and the former Rapid Vienna winger is in line to make his debut against Ross County on Saturday.
Rodgers revealed work was continuing to add more but nothing was imminent.
“We have a lot of quality players in our squad that are improving and developing and I want to add more to that,” said the Celtic manager, who will welcome Cameron Carter-Vickers back from injury against County.
“But it’s never easy to add quality because other clubs don’t want to lose quality players.
“But it’s something that is continually being worked on and I hope before the window shuts that we are able to do that.”
He added: “I don’t want to be in a rush to bring in a player, it always has to be the right player.
“And also I want to be here for a period of time, as long of course as I’m successful, so I want to create an opportunity for young players to come through here.
“Everyone talks about signings and I always say you might have someone within your academy, but you need to have the space for those payers to flourish and develop.
“So, yes, I hope we can add to the group, and I’m confident that we can, but also I want to develop the talents that are here and continually grow them.”