Celtic have now started the process of strengthening their squad under new manager Neil Lennon.
The Northern Irishman took over from Brendan Rodgers on a caretaker basis in February and had to wait until after leading the team to the treble treble before getting the job permanently.
And that was confirmed last Friday by the club, with Lennon penning a 12-month rolling contract.
Now, everyone is agreed that Celtic’s squad needs freshened up ahead of another big season.
But where exactly is the most important position to strengthen? Celtic have never really replaced Dembele after he was sold to Lyon on the eve of last season.
So here we give you five options to replace the Frenchman this summer:
Marega is probably the player on this list closest to Dembele in style. The Porto forward is powerful, can play up front alone and knows how to score goals – hitting the net 20 times in all competitions last season. He also laid on nine goals for his teammates and did all of that at the top level domestically and in Europe. With that all being written, Marega is the most high profile on this list and would no doubt be out of Celtic’s price range. However, there has been speculation linking him with the Scottish champions so that’s why he’s included here.
Koulouris has been a star in Greece this season, excelling out on loan from PAOK with Atromitos. He’s actually spent the last two seasons out on loan at the same club, but last campaign was his best, scoring 25 goals in 35 appearances. Atromitos actually qualified for the Europa League after finishing fourth and Koulouris was a big part of that with his goals. He’s less powerful than Dembele or Marega, for example, but is a striker with intelligent moving and quality in front of goal. On top of all this, he’s just 23 too – a potential asset for Celtic in the future.
Maupay would be an outstanding signing for Celtic if they could make it happen. English Championship fans will be well aware of the Brentford striker after his arrival from Saint-Etienne in 2017. He’s played 95 times for the London club since, scoring 41 goals – an outstanding return for a team not always competing in the top half of the Championship. Added to that, he laid on eight goals for his teammates last season and was a pivotal part of Brentford finishing comfortably in 11th. Most significantly, Maupay is just 22 so there’s major upside in getting the French striker now.
It’s been clear to see Lammers is too good to be spending time on the bench now. He struggled to make a regular impact after breaking through at PSV in 2016, but was sent out to Heerenveen for regular game time at the start of last season and showed he’s a first team player with 19 goals and five assists in 33 appearances. He’ll return to PSV this summer and has a contract until 2021, but they have some quality strikers in Donyell Malan, Luuk de Jong and Hirving Lozano so may not find much use for Lammers. If they don’t, Celtic should definitely take some interest.
How different Rizespor’s season could have been had they not relied on Muriqi for 17 goals in the Turkish Super Lig. The Kosovan striker was outstanding all season and found top form in May with four goals in four games. He’s actually been in Turkey since 2014, starting with Giresunspor before moving on to Genclerbirligi and then Rizespor and this has been his best campaign. So Muriqi may look to cash in on it by earning a move abroad. He can score all different types of goals, but his best asset is his style – combining power with poise on the ball to lead to the line. We could definitely see him combining well with Odsonne Edouard.
Celtic fans – who would you like to see arrive?