Neil Lennon hopes Odsonne Edouard will soon be jumping on a plane – with Celtic and not for talks with one of his would-be buyers!
The Hoops striker is a £30-million target for Arsenal and Everton, and has been linked with a host of big names on the Continent, including Borussia Dortmund.
His current boss, however, is desperate to keep him and has revealed the club are contemplating going abroad for a pre-season training camp.
“There are ongoing discussions at the minute with Odsonne’s representatives,” said Lennon.
“Ultimately, he’s a player we want around. He’s a fantastic player. He’s really blossomed over the last couple of seasons.
“He had a magnificent season this year, and we want to keep him. It’s as simple as that.
“We’re doing everything we can to keep him here for at least another season anyway.
“He’s grown into a top-class striker. Of course, there is going to be speculation around a player of that quality.
“But we’re comfortable at the minute with the position we’re in with him. I think he’s got a fantastic relationship with me and my backroom team, and his team-mates.
“You can see how much the supporters appreciate him as well. I think that’s reciprocated.
“He seems pretty happy and we’re all looking forward to seeing him at training.”
That will happen at the Celtic training centre on Thursday.
But the Hoops manager has revealed that he has hopes the continuing coronavirus crisis won’t prevent him taking the players away somewhere warmer.
“Initially, we will be training in small groups which is fine, just basically bedding the players in again.
“Then we may look to go away to a training camp. We are pursuing a couple of avenues that may be a possibility.
“That would maybe allow us into training in bigger groups, which is obviously very important in your preparation for the new season.
“All those processes and think clouds are all in place at the minute. We do feel confident that if there is the possibility of going to a camp, we will.”
Would that involve going abroad?
“It could do, yes. That’s something we are looking at, no question.”
BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities have suffered disproportionately from the virus, but Lennon is confident about the safeguards the club are putting in place.
“Of course, it seems BAME players are a little bit more vulnerable. We have protocols and everything in place,” said the Hoops boss.
“We’re trying to reassure all the players about their safety at the training ground, and in the surrounding environment.
“We have plans in place at the weekend for testing, and all the medical processes we need to go through and obviously what they’re required to do.
“They’re going to have to be really disciplined over the next few weeks and how to go about life away from the training ground.
“We’ll have the medical team in position on Monday to talk to the players individually.
“There will be rigorous testing on them now, not just for the coronavirus but other aspects of their physical health and well-being.”
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