CELTIC manager Brendan Rodgers has praised the “fantastic talent” of Dominic Solanke after being linked with a move for the young Chelsea forward.
Reports claim the 19-year-old has refused a new contract offer at Stamford Bridge and that the Hoops boss is interested in bringing him to Parkhead in the summer.
Under cross-border rules, the Ladbrokes Premiership champions would only need to pay a fraction of the fee English clubs would have to stump up for the England Under-21 international.
When asked about the speculation at the club’s Lennoxtown training ground, the Northern Irishman did not say he had a definite interest in Solanke, but he was praiseworthy.
“Nothing much other than I know Dominic well,” said Rodgers, who picked up the Ladbrokes Premiership manager of the month award for April.
“I took Dominic into Chelsea when he was eight years of age. I am delighted for him and the career he has had up until now as a young player, he is a fantastic talent.
“But no more than that. I only speak on him because I know the player back then.
“It is unfortunate that he is maybe not going to renew his contract at Chelsea because it is a great club, but he maybe deems that his future lies elsewhere.
“But apart from that, nothing else to add.
“So I can see where there is a connection with him and I, but nothing more than that.”
Rodgers, however, admitted that Solanke was the type of player that would be of interest to Celtic, who signed French striker Moussa Dembele from Fulham under similar circumstances last summer. The then 19-year-old arrived for a fee of around £500,000 and his 32 goals have helped take the Hoops to the cusp of a domestic treble.
“I think there is a few things to it,” he said. “I have always said that this is a huge club that will attract players no matter.
“But the compensation situation up here means it is a very attractive offer for a young player, his family and agent, to think that you can come out of England and come up to a huge club.
“You only need to look at Moussa’s development here, and look at Patrick Roberts’ development over the past 18 months. He leaves here a winner when he goes back to Manchester City, he has had his hands on trophies, he has played Champions League football, he has played in big games and learned to become a winner.
“There is a huge attraction here for any young player.
“What you have in England is some outstanding clubs, some fantastic academies and Chelsea is one of them.
“Unfortunately, there is only so many of them who can play in the first team but there is a raft of talent and raft of huge talent and it would be silly for us not to be able to tap into that when the right profile of player becomes available.”
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