Rodgers denies £18m Dembele sale but can't promise Celtic star will stay

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A reported bid for the French striker was surprising news for the Celtic boss, but he admits they could lose him in the January transfer window

Brendan Rodgers has denied claims Celtic have agreed to sell Moussa Dembele to Brighton and Hove Albion for £18 million in January, but says he cannot guarantee the striker will stay at the club much longer.

The 21-year-old has attracted interest from across the continent with his impressive displays for the Glasgow side, having scored 40 goals in 68 first-team appearances.

As well as several Premier League sides, Bayern Munich were said to be tracking the France Under-21 international, but it is Brighton who are said to be on the verge of signing him.

Rodgers claimed he knew nothing of the speculation until he was quizzed by family members over Christmas, but he accepts Celtic are always in a vulnerable position when it comes to their prized assets.

"I am not sure where it's come from. Moussa's been linked with so many clubs since I've been here," he told BBC Radio Scotland.

"There's been no contact between the clubs and Moussa is very much still a Celtic player. There is no fee, no bid, there have been no talks.

"I can't say [he will stay in January]. 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."

He added to BT Sport: "I was made aware of [the Brighton rumours] by some family members asking me if it was true or not.

"It was the first I'd heard of it. At this stage he is still very much a Celtic player.

"When you've got good players and talented players… with all due respect, Celtic is a club that at times will lose some of the better players.

"But at this moment in time the squad is still very much intact and we want to add to it over the course of the January window.

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"I can never stand here and say someone is definitely going to be here because you could get a ridiculous bid for a player and a situation arises when they're offered much more wages and they want to go.

"At this moment in time, the spirit of the group is very strong, their very happy and January will take its course."

Dembele featured as a late substitute when Celtic secured a 2-0 win at Dundee on Tuesday, moving them 11 points clear at the summit.

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