Possible Striking Options If Celtic Cash in On Moussa Dembele

French striker Moussa Dembele scored yet another Old Firm goal last weekend. The forward seems to have found his groove again and he’s now hit thirteen goals in thirty-one appearances this term.

In his last seven outings for the Hoops, Dembele has scored five times and also created five assists. That form has seen the forward linked again with Ligue 1 side Olyimpique de Marseille.

Now Celtic don’t necessarily need to sell their star hitman in the summer as he still has two years left to run on his current deal.

The player himself will have a big say on what happens next. He certainly seems to have an affinity with the club and their fanbase but he may feel he’s done all he can in Scotland, especially if Celtic win back to back trebles.

The Scottish Premiership champions might not stand in Dembele’s way, if the French Under-21 does indeed decide he wants to leave Parkhead. The club might feel that they can get a better price this summer rather than wait until he enters that last year of his contract. If they were to get a bid of between £15m and £20m then that might tempt them to the negotiating table.

Obviously Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell will hope that a few teams can compete for the striker’s signature and push the transfer fee up.

Let’s say the prolific marksman leaves Celtic Park, how could Brendan Rodgers change things in the striking line.

Leigh Griffiths will still be there and he will always offer Celtic goals. He has been missing due to injury recently but he has come on leaps and bounds since Brendan took over at Parkhead. Can play up-front by himself and gives you energy and intelligent runs.

If the Hoops do sell Dembele for big money, then I’d imagine they’ll activate the clause to sign Odsonne Edouard from PSG for £7m.

The young forward has impressed during his loan spell. He came off the bench to grab a great winner against Rangers after showing great feet and ambition to find some space in the opposition box.

The Celtic boss heaped praise on Edouard earlier in the week:

“He is one of the best young players I have worked with – his movement, his touch, his all-round play,”

That suggests Rodgers could swoop for Odsonne even if Dembele doesn’t leave in the summer. He still looks a bit raw but you can definitely see a player in there and one that can have a strong impact in big encounters.

The good news for the east-end team is that the feeling is mutual:

“With Rodgers, I feel that I am progressing at all levels and especially at the athletic level.”

“I have scored eight goals in 23 appearances.”

“I know it’s a good ratio, but I must especially continue in that direction.”

Even if Celtic have Edouard and Griffiths for next term, I’d still expect the club to go out and get another attacker through the door. This season’s injury issues with Leigh and Dembele show why the club need three good forwards in the squad.

With that in mind who could they have a look at?

Well there’s Divock Origi, a player that Rodgers worked with at Liverpool.

The Belgian international has spent this year on loan at Wolfsburg but his scoring contribution to the Bundesliga outfit seems to have fizzled out after a bright start. It would seem unlikely that Jurgen Klopp will want him in Liverpool’s first team next year, so he could be available to go out on another loan and that might interest Rodgers.

Brendan said this about the forward previously:

“He’s a young player who has excellent qualities.”

Has scored 44 goals in 202 career appearances, which suggests he’s not a prolific hitman but he’s still only twenty-two years of age and has time to develop.

He’s a tall, strong forward and when he gets in his stride he gives defenders difficulties. Origi is also effective on either wing, that versatility can always be useful for Celtic given the amount of games they play throughout a season.

His physicality and speed would make him a very useful talent up here. Yes he has had a bad year in Germany but let’s not forget that Odsonne Edouard had a terrible experience out on loan at Toulouse in 2017!

All Origi probably needs is a confidence boost and Celtic might offer him that. His contract is up in the summer of 2019, so maybe the Hoops can get him on a cut-price deal.

You then have recent Scotland call-up Oli McBurnie. The youngster has enjoyed a successful loan spell at Barnsley in the English Championship since January (he has grabbed six goals in eight games). He’s an instinctive finisher, good in the air and likes a dribble too.

Oli’s future will be down his parent club Swansea City and what they see in him and where they are next season. If they drop to the Championship, then he’s going to stay there. If they still believe he can develop into a star but he’s not Premier League standard yet, then they’ll probably loan him out. If they don’t see him ever being a top level player then they could be tempted to sell.

Then there’s current youth striker Jack Aitchison.

The teenager scored on his senior debut back in 2016 and he’s since been in great scoring form with the youth sides. He has only just turned eighteen but plenty of people in Parkhead rate him.

Would Brendan Rodgers see the youthful prodigy as a good back-up for an establish three? Probably for at least another season.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Moussa Dembele in the summer. If he stays, then I’m sure the Celtic support and management team will be delighted. But looking at the potential replacements, it seems that there are a few good options out there and that could ease the pain if the goalscoring forward leaves.

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