BRENDAN RODGERS this afternoon admitted that the club have knocked back a official bid from Fulham for Dedryck Boyata and that he is still very much in the race to bring John McGinn to Celtic.
McGinn has been sent down to Aston Villa as the clock ticks towards the English window closing on Thursday night. No fee has been agreed between the clubs and no bid made from the English Championship side. With Hibs having a European match on Thursday it seems bizarre to say the least that they have sent their star player down to the Midlands on a wing and a prayer.
Firstly on the Belgian defender, the Celtic boss had this to say today:
“Yes, we have had a few enquiries and there was a confirmed bid by Fulham for him.
“He is a player that we don’t want to lose. We know he is in the last year of his deal.
“He has been a fantastic player for me in my time here, he had an excellent World Cup when he played.
“He is clearly a player of value and, at this point in time for us, he is very important and the club rejected that.”
Rodgers had earlier revealed that Boyata isn’t ready to play any part against AEK Athens tomorrow night, which is convenient as far as any possible transfer is concerned.
“At this stage, everyone is playing and coming back to full health.
“Dedryck is still probably a bit of time away but he’s looking fit and into his second week and we’ll see where he’s at towards the end of this week.”
Boyata’s fitness at the end of this week could be a concern for Fulham rather than Celtic and if they come back, as expected, with a bid of £12million for Boyata then the Celtic supporters certainly feel that this is too good a deal for Celtic to turn down.
This morning we ran a Poll on The Celtic Star asking if Celtic should accept a second Fulham bid of £12million for Boyata and so far within a few hours over a thousand supporters have voted and their collective opinion is emphatic – see the result HERE. The Poll is still open to add your own vote too.
On John McGinn, Brendan Rodgers had this to say about the latest situation concerning the Hibs midfielder. Celtic have had two bids already rejected by the Easter Road club.
“He’s a player we clearly wanted to sign,” Brendan said.
“We haven’t been able to complete a deal and when you don’t do that it always opens the door for other teams.
“Aston Villa are clearly interested in him and have a big history of their own, a great club with excellent facilities and now financial backing. So we have to wait and see on him.”
Meanwhile Rodgers confirmed that Olivier Ntcham, who injured himself in the closing stages against Livingston on Saturday, is fit to play against AEK Athens tomorrow night.
“He trained on Monday morning so he’s fine. It was just a sore one on his Achilles but he should be fine,” Rodgers said.
“He’s been very good and he’s got real strength and power and scored another goal from the penalty on Saturday, which was calmly taken.
“He gives us that power and strength in there along with Browny.”
The Celtic manager also took time to praise the Celtic support for their understanding in terms of avoiding getting too frustrated as the play develops in these big European nights. The moans and groans have been replaced by an appreciation of the way the team are trying to play and this has made life easier for the players and management team – something that Rodgers is quick to recognise.
“It’s that mixture of educating your pressure to press and be aggressive, but there will be times when the opposition will have the ball as well.
“When that happens it’s a case of us being really compact and tight, and the supporters have been great for us over these last couple of games.
“When I first came in, these types of matches could be a little bit tetchy for them at times but they understand if the other team has the ball, it’s okay, and we can still have control of the game even if we don’t have the ball. The fans are vital for us.”