Moussa Dembele claims Celtic wanted to sign him under Deila, highlights Rodgers' influence

Fulham’s Moussa Dembele applauds the fans at the end of the match

Moussa Dembele has claimed that Celtic wanted him as far back as January.

Moussa Dembele celebrates scoring the second goal for FulhamMoussa Dembele celebrates scoring for Fulham

New Celtic signing Moussa Dembele has told the Daily Mail that the Bhoys wanted to sign him back in January, when Ronny Deila was managing the club - but new boss Brendan Rodgers helped convince him to sign.

Rodgers, who was appointed as Deila's successor in May, made his first signing as Celtic manager on Tuesday evening, securing the signature of striker Dembele from Fulham.

Fulham's Moussa Dembele looks dejected

The Frenchman, formerly of Paris Saint-Germain, hit 17 goals for Fulham last season to become one of the most dangerous strikers in the Championship, but his contract situation has ultimately led to his exit from Craven Cottage.

The 19-year-old striker was set to be out of contract in a matter of days, and whilst Fulham will receive a compensation fee from Celtic for the forward, he's been free to discuss moves to other clubs as his contract wound down.

Fulham's Moussa Dembele has a shot at goal

In fact, Dembele could have signed a pre-contract agreement with a non-English club in January, and he's revealed that Celtic wanted to sign him at the start of the year.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Dembele has suggested that even under Deila's reign as Celtic manager, he knew that the Bhoys wanted to sign him back in January, most likely on a pre-contract agremeent.

The teenager added that he had other options so had been thinking over a move to Scotland for around five months, but highlighted the influence of new boss Rodgers as a reason for his move.

Fulham’s Moussa Dembele applauds the fans at the end of the match

Dembele claims that Rodgers convinced him to sign, as he laid out the future plans and sold Celtic to him, and the striker then added that Rodgers is a 'very big manager' and can't wait to get started under the former Liverpool boss - a theme Celtic may find with transfer targets this summer, with many no doubt wanting to work under a manager like Rodgers.

"I first heard of Celtic's interest in January," said Dembele. "I have thought about it since January but I had a few other options. I took my time and looked at all the options and Celtic came up as the best choice. I had a few (offers) but I didn't have the same one I had with Celtic in terms of football. I think it's the best place for me to be."

"When you have a manager like Brendan who talks to you about the club and who convinces you to come, it's a massive thing. He told me about the club, about what he wanted to do with me in the future, and I was happy with that. Brendan is a very big manager and I can't wait to work with him."

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