Moussa Dembele: Charlie Nicholas says Celtic striker should not rush move

Moussa Dembele
Dembele is with the Celtic squad for their mid-season training camp in Dubai

Charlie Nicholas says Celtic striker Moussa Dembele should not be in a rush to leave and should choose his next club carefully when he does depart.

The 20-year-old Frenchman, who has scored 18 goals this season, has been linked with a move away.

Nicholas was sold by Celtic at 21 to Arsenal, although he now accepts he should have opted for Liverpool.

"If the right club comes in then make sure it is the right club for you," Nicholas said.

"I can judge that, because I had a lot of clubs after me."

Former Aberdeen and Scotland striker Nicholas believes Dembele's career would be best served remaining in Scotland, where he can win trophies and play in the Champions League.

A lucrative move will eventually come for the French Under-21 international, Nicholas says, because "he will be a star" but he does not believe Dembele is ready to play for one of the leading clubs in England yet.

And the 55-year-old said: "Who's going to come in for Dembele at the moment who's going to spark and light his life up?

Charlie Nicholas
Nicholas joined Arsenal from Celtic in 1983 and returned to Glasgow via a spell at Aberdeen

"Is he going to get a game at Arsenal? I would say not. All the top clubs? I would say not yet. In a year's time? A strong possibility.

"He's physical and playing for the French under-21s. He will be a star.

"It could be bland for him in the next five months, the title's just about wrapped up, but he's become a star very quickly.

"[Former Celtic striker Henrik] Larsson started slowly and then he's blown us all away."

'There's no rush'

Media reports have suggested West Ham - 13th in England's Premier League - are keen on Dembele, who joined Celtic in the summer from Fulham.

Since then, he has scored 19 goals for Brendan Rodgers' side - including three in the group stages of the Champions League and one in the Scottish League Cup final win over Aberdeen. Defending champions Celtic currently lead the Premiership by 19 points.

Moussa Dembele
Dembele's goals have played a big part in Celtic's success this season

And Nicholas cautioned that moving on may result in a less favourable experience for Dembele.

"I should have gone to Liverpool - although I would never say a bad word about Arsenal - but that's the choices some of us make," added the Scot.

"[West Ham are] a team riddled in mayhem, they fight, argue and scrap with each other.

"Who's Dembele's partner going to be? Who's his supplier going to be? What is the rhythm of the team? It doesn't have one and their best player [Dmitri Payet] has said he doesn't want to be there.

"The timing is all wrong, West Ham are all wrong. That can change in six or 12 months, but there's no rush and there's no incentive for him to join West Ham. Is he going to enjoy a [relegation] scrap, or potentially end up with a treble and a great experience in the Champions League?"

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