Sunday 26 May 2019

Bhoys' Van Dijk windfall may be bolstered by Dembele move

Celtic's Moussa Dembele Photo: PA
Celtic's Moussa Dembele Photo: PA

Roddy Forsyth

Celtic's transfer profits could multiply tenfold if their share of the cash from Virgil van Dijk's move from Southampton to Liverpool is supplemented by the sale of Moussa Dembele next month.

The Scottish champions will get a slice of the £75m (€84m) world-record fee for a defender paid by Liverpool, which could be 10pc of the total fee or, more likely, 15pc of the profit made by Southampton on their original £11.5m investment, which would yield Celtic around £9.5m (€10.7m)

On St Stephen's Day, Brendan Rodgers played down reports that an £18m fee had been agreed with Brighton for Dembele, the 21-year-old French striker who moved from Fulham in the summer of 2016 on a four-year contract.

"There is no fee, no bid - there have been no talks," Rodgers said.

The Celtic manager added a caveat, however, when asked if Dembele would still be a Hoops player at the end of January.

"I can't say that," he replied.

"I live in the real world of football and you can say things that make you look silly.

"Someone might come in with a bid that is an astronomical amount of money for the club and the player and, if the player wants to go, that's modern football."


Were Dembele to leave next month, the addition of his likely fee to the Van Dijk add-on would leave Celtic at least £25m (€28m) - perhaps as much as £35m (€39m) - up on the deals and would widen the gulf between their resources and those of other Scottish clubs.

In their most recent accounts, for the year to June 30, Celtic's turnover was £90.6m - 74pc up on the previous year because of Champions League involvement.

Participation in the tournament group stage was achieved again this season and Celtic qualified for the knockout stage of the Europa League, where they will meet Zenit St Petersburg.

Although the Van Dijk bonus will not be paid in one tranche, but in instalments as he makes appearances for Liverpool, the return from that deal, plus any that might be struck for Dembele, would significantly enlarge the club's profit from transfers, which was given as £2.3m in the 2016-17 accounts.

Van Dijk's latest move has served as a timely reminder to Celtic fans of their team's brittleness in central defence.

Rodgers has moved to remedy the deficiency by signing Marvin Compper from Red Bull Leipzig, paying around £1m for the 32-year-old - a fee that will be recouped if Erik Sviatchenko moves to FC Copenhagen.

Meanwhile, promising 19-year-old full-back Anthony Ralston has signed a new contract, which takes him up until the summer of 2022. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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