Celtic heap pressure on their young protege Karamoko Dembele as Manchester City circle
Transfer Balls spots a story about a trade in underage flesh. The BBC says Manchester City want to sign 13-year-old Celtic “playmaker” Karamoko Dembele. Dubbed a wunderkind, earlier this month Dembele made his debut for Celtic’s Under-20 team, playing the final ten minutes of the Bhoys’ 3-1 victory over Hearts at Cappielow.
If you want to feel even older, know that the youngster came off the bench to replace Jack Aitchison who, at 16 years and 71 days old, became Celtic’s youngest-ever player in the final game of last season.
The Sun picks ip the story of Manchester City “looking to pounce” on the child. They want to transport Karamoko Dembele to England and add hims to “their growing academy of young stars”. City, we leanr, “have been tracking the talented teenager for the past few months”.
Should he go? The Mail reminds its readers of Islam Feruz, who at just 13 represented Celtic in a memorial game for the late Tommy Burns.
But after being carefully nurtured by Celtic, he turned his back on them after six years and moved to Chelsea on a lucrative contract. The accusations were that his head had been turned, which Feruz now admits himself.
“I hope he stays with Celtic, plays for their first team and score lots of goals. Never forget that playing football makes you happy. If he does that, the next step of his career will be a natural progression. He will not need to chase anything or rush into anything. He just has to keep his head down, stay focused and not allow himself to be distracted. That’s the best advice I can give him.
“I remember it all just seemed to happen at once and hit me overnight. There was so much publicity. It was very hard to handle. My family and friends were also thrust into the spotlight. It’s hard to cope when you are so young. It’s easy to put your faith in other people and it becomes easy to lose focus on football. People will now want to get involved with him and, no doubt, promise plenty. People will try to sweet talk him.
“But you must trust in your family, that is so important. And stick to football. It’s easy to become distracted and lose sight of the necessary development required on and off the field. The people of Scotland, in every walk of life, must try to protect him. I wish him luck.”
He’ll need it. Eslewhere in the Mail, you can read:
But the ultimate tale of ‘too much too soon’ is undoubtedly Islam Feruz, whom Celtic legend Tommy Burns fought to keep in Scotland as his family sought asylum from war-torn Somalia. Feruz duly turned his back on Celtic to earn more money at Chelsea, where he has developed only into a first class waste of space.
So how good is Dembele? Gordon Parks is unimpressed: “Celtic said Dembele was chosen on merit. Sorry but it’s disingenuous at best, a cheap publicity stunt at worst.”
He seems to have a point when you listen to one Celtic insider.
“Karamoko is still a young boy and has a lot of growing to do, both physically and mentally,” head of youth, Chris McCart, told the club’s website. “The coaches at our U13 and 14 levels have been fantastic in nurturing his potential but it is crucial that we do not push him too far, too soon. He has a lot of hard work ahead of him to make it to the top and we won’t rush that, but we also know Karamoko, and the other talented young players we have here, is at the perfect place to continue his progress and we look forward to seeing what the future holds.”
If he has so much growing to do, why expose the talented teenager to intense scrutiny at such a young age?
Scotland assistant coach Mark McGhee said last Tuesday: “I’ve heard our youth people talking about Karamoko Dembele and he’s supposed to be outstanding, fantastic.”
No pressure, son.
PS: Some way to go on building the kids profile. The Express says he was born in the Ivory Coast.
The Mail says he was born in London.
The Sun says: ‘The teenager was born in London to parents from Ivory Coast and moved to Scotland before his first birthday.”
The Telegraph mistakes him for another Dembele, reporting beneath the headline “Celtic 13-year-old Karamoko Dembele makes Under-20s debut”:
Such are the facts.