Derby County linked with move for ex Celtic starlet once tipped for big things

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A former Celtic star who was once tipped for big things is being linked with a move to the Championship.

A former Celtic man is being linked with a move to the Championship with newly promoted Derby County. The Rams secured their return to the Championship in the season just gone, finishing second behind Portsmouth and landing automatic promotion to the second tier.

They will now be charged with task of preparing for Championship football, needing to significantly increase the quality in their squad before the new season kicks off. According to Football Insider, Derby may look to Brest for one of their summer recruitments, with former Celtic man Karamoko Dembele being linked with a move.

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Dembele spent last season on loan with League One side Blackpool, scoring nine goals and assisting 14, impressing throughout his temporary spell with the Tangerines. In fact, he even won both Players’ Player of the Season and Supporters’ Player of the Season at Bloomfield Road, and his performances have got the attention of Derby as they prepare to make the step up to the Championship.

Dembele, who came through the Celtic academy, graduating to the first team in 2019 and going on to make eight league appearances. David Feeney, Dembele's former Park Villa youth coach said of the winger back in 2016: “I think he is very similar to Lionel Messi. If he has the right guidance, then the sky is the limit for him.”

The youngster failed to cut it at Celtic, though, and he was allowed to join Brest in 2022, making 16 league appearances before going on to join Blackpool on loan for last season, making 39 league appearances there.

Speaking about Dembele’s time at Blackpool, Tangerines boss Neil Critchely said in March: “He’s never played this much football in his life, and I know he enjoys being here and in this group. He’s been a real top performer for us this season, so I’m hoping he can be a decisive player for us in some big games between now and the end of the campaign.

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“We obviously want to keep good players and bring them to the football club- Kaddy is obviously one of them, but it’s not always us and what we want, players and agents have their thoughts and ideas as well. It goes without saying, if we could then he’s the type of player we’d love to have. He’s a brilliant footballer, I love watching him play. He’s exciting, he’s something different in this league. He’s really courageous, he takes the ball into any area of the pitch and backs himself- he’s got real bravery. He’s a lovely boy and is great to work with.

"He produced the moments of quality that won us the game. We have to play a certain way for him, and on Tuesday we didn’t, so he got lost in the game. We have to be a team that plays football. If we want to develop young exciting players then we’ve got to give them the ball, because if it’s going over their head all of the time then it’s a waste. You’ve got to play a certain way, while also respecting what this league is about and doing the basics well.”

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