Date: 21st August 2018 at 7:48am
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John Hartson has warned Celtic not to consider selling Moussa Dembele.

Within 24 hours of Celtic’s Champions League ko from AEK Athens there were reports of interest in the striker from Marseilles.

Dembele will be in the thoughts of every top level club on the continent but unless there is a cheque for £30m on offer Hartson wants to see Celtic hold on to the 22-year-old.

After a dynamic first season with the hoops Dembele failed to recapture those heights last season but despite a number of injuries he scored vital goals at Ibrox and Pittodrie.

The shadow of getting knocked out of the Champions League will take a long time to clear but Hartson believes that would be magnified if Celtic cashed in on their first choice striker.

In the Evening Times he explained:

I would be wary of a French side stepping in for Moussa at the last minute.

Celtic would need to boot that one out right away. I just think Celtic are a far better team when he is in it. He makes them more dynamic, he raises the bar, he has an energy and a presence about him and if I was in charge at Celtic, I’d be building a team around him.

To be fair, I think Brendan Rodgers has tried to do that this season. He gave an indication at the beginning of the campaign that he would play Odsonne Edouard and Dembele up front together but his plan was disrupted by injuries to both strikers.

It was unfortunate because I think they look as though they would blow everyone away but you just can’t legislate for injuries.

But as I have said in my column before, you cannot stand still. And selling Moussa in this window would be a step back the way.

The only way I think you could give it any consideration was if it was crazy money – and I am talking in the £30m bracket here. Then you have cash to go and invest in the team but even then, I think I would still be reluctant to sanction his sale.

Dembele has appeared as a substitute in Celtic’s last two matches but is expected to start Thursday’s match against Suduva.