Why Celtic should hold on to Karamoko Dembele amidst Arsenal links
According to Scottish Sun, Celtic wonderkid Karamoko Dembele is a subject of interest from Premier League giants Arsenal, who are plotting an audacious raid on the reigning Scottish champions for the 16-year-old prodigy.
Arsenal, though, are not the only club to have been credited with an interest in the talented starlet, with the Scottish Sun suggesting that Serie A champions Juventus, Bundesliga heavyweights Borussia Dortmund, as well as Paris Saint-Germain, are all closely monitoring the teenager’s development at Parkhead.
Karamoko Dembele, who made his first-team debut for Celtic against Hearts in the Scottish Premiership last season, is regarded as one of the most sought-after emerging prospects in Europe at the moment after earning rave reviews for his rapid development.
However, with several of Europe’s elites circling around like sharks, the Hoops apparently have a real fight on their hands when it comes to keeping hold of their prized asset.
Dembele is yet to make an appearance at the senior level this term but that hasn’t deterred the continental giants from pursuing a keen interest in the youngster.
Born in London to parents of Ivorian descent, Karamoko Dembele migrated north of the border to Glasgow when he was only a year old and joined Celtic at the age of 10 back in 2013.
The diminutive winger’s impressive performances at the U-13 level led to him being tagged as a prodigy in the club’s youth ranks and his incredible development meant that he was fast-tracked into the U-20 development squad in 2016 at the tender age of 13.
Dembele signed his first professional deal with the Hoops in December 2018 aged 15 and also represented the Hoops’ academy side at the Glasgow Cup and the Scottish Youth Cup in the 2018-19 season before making his senior bow for Neil Lennon’s side.
To put things into perspective, Arsenal’s interest in Karamoko Dembele hardly comes as a surprise given that the Gunners have a big reputation for plucking out burgeoning young talents and blooding them into top-quality professionals in their academy.
Unai Emery’s arrival has reopened the pathway for some of the top academy prospects to prove their credentials at the senior level, with starlets like Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson enjoying plenty of involvement in the Premier League.
Eddie Nketiah is excelling at Leeds United on loan in the Championship while Emile Smith Rowe is currently challenging for a first-team role at the Emirates following his impressive breakthrough last term.
Suffice to say, Karamoko Dembele would be another excellent addition to the club’s existing pool of talented youngsters and this is a move that could go on to pay rich dividends in the future, with the Gunners putting a lot of emphasis on youth development under the stewardship of Emery.
To that end though, Celtic should do everything in their power to hold on to Karamoko Dembele, who is one of the most exciting prospects to have come through their ranks since the turn of the century.
He is a player with serious potential and losing him at this stage of his career would be a real shame and definitely, a blunder which might come back to bite them hard in the years to come.
The fact that he has already made his mark in senior football at the age of 16 is indicative of a level of maturity that belies his tender years as a footballer and Celtic should be wise enough to know that Dembele is someone with a big future ahead of him.
Of course, the lure of moving to a Premier League heavyweight like Arsenal is likely to appeal to the youngster but the Hoops should make sure that they slap a massive price tag on his head to ward off interest.
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He has a contract until the summer of 2021 and tying him down to a new deal at the earliest should be a priority if the Hoops are really serious about shielding him from foreign interest.
All in all, losing Dembele would be a massive step backwards for the reigning champions and they should leave no stone unturned in their attempts to hold onto his services for the foreseeable future.