06 Jan Stay with Celtic Moussa
Former Celtic midfielder Stiliyan Petrov has advised Moussa Dembele to continue his football education at Parkhead like he did.
Petrov and Dembele both arrived at Celtic aged 19 but the France Under-21 striker looks highly unlikely to match the Bulgarian’s seven-year spell in Glasgow after West Ham sounded the Scottish champions out over a £20million move.
Celtic insist that is well short of their valuation of the striker, who has netted 19 goals in his first six months in Scotland, and Petrov feels Dembele’s worth will continue to grow at Parkhead.
The former Aston Villa captain said: “In today’s market, you see silly transfers and big money. If someone comes in with £20million-plus, it will be very difficult for Celtic to try to hold him.
“But it’s going to be down to the player where he wants to go and what he wants to do: does he want to achieve more with Celtic and develop more and then move on or is he just going to move and start a new chapter?
“I had a similar situation. I got a lot of offers when I was at Celtic and playing well, but I wasn’t ready. I wanted to be ready to go and challenge myself when I had enough games under me, when I had built my reputation.
“Obviously it was in the back of my head but I knew I needed to develop, I knew I needed more time, and I knew I was playing in a good team.
“There is nothing wrong, he is playing for one of the best clubs in the world, so it’s not a big problem if he stays for a couple more years and develops as a player, brings his record up and scores a lot of goals and be confident when he moves somewhere else.”
Petrov agrees with Celtic’s decision to value the player higher than £20million, pointing out that strikers such as Christian Benteke (£32.5million) and Romelu Lukaku (£28million) had gone for huge fees.
“If you look at the money paid for them, he has the same strength, he is a goalscorer, he holds the ball very well and he is still young and can develop more,” Petrov said. “So I don’t think that is unrealistic.
“He is becoming a nightmare for every single defender in Scotland. He put in some great performances against big teams in the Champions League. People will judge him on that and that will add value. Everybody watches the Champions League and he has definitely put himself out there.”
Stiliyan Petrov was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is the proud sponsor of the Scottish Cup.