LYON: Celtic’s Moussa Dembélé is set to join French side Lyon after the Scottish champions accepted an offer for the unsettled striker.
Hoops manager Brendan Rodgers had insisted the former France Under-21 international would not be sold during the transfer window.
But Dembélé arrived for training on Friday after spending much of the morning on social media outlining his frustration at Celtic denying his wish to join Lyon.
The 22-year-old walked off the field after about 15 minutes following a discussion with Rodgers, just 24 hours after sitting out Thursday’s Europa League win over Sūduva following negotiations between the clubs.
Aware that they were in danger of being stuck with an unhappy player as the Scottish transfer window drew to a close, Celtic finally decided to accept Lyon’s reported £18 million (RM96 million) offer late on Friday.
“Every decision we make at Celtic will always be in the best interests of the Club and our supporters,” Rodgers said in a statement on Celtic’s website.
“It is vital to make clear that we have never promised any player that he can leave the Club at a particular time. It has never happened.”
“In fact, we have said all along that we did not wish to sell Moussa, given the circumstances within the transfer window, and that is why we rejected a significant offer yesterday.”
“However, this particular decision to accept this offer has been taken in order to serve the best interests of the first-team squad, my coaching team and the culture, and environment we have created in these last two seasons.”
“The Board and myself are united, and they have been very supportive to me on this issue.”
“Finally, I would like to thank Moussa for his contribution in our last two seasons and want to wish him well in his new adventure at Lyon.”
Celtic, who have failed to qualify for this season’s Champions League group stage, will start life without Dembélé on Sunday when they face arch-rivals Rangers in the first Old Firm derby of the season.