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I'll not be splashing silly money, insists Celtic boss Neil Lennon

Targets in mind: Celtic manager Neil Lennon
Targets in mind: Celtic manager Neil Lennon

By Gavin McCafferty

Celtic manager Neil Lennon warned fans not to expect the club to pay "silly" money after banking a club record fee for Kieran Tierney.

The Scottish champions landed their biggest transfer income for the second summer running after selling Tierney to Arsenal for £25m, 12 months after they banked about £20m for Moussa Dembele.

But Lennon will remain controlled in the transfer market as he looks to sign two full backs and possibly another player.

And he admitted that players could leave before anyone else arrives.

"It makes things a little bit easier in terms of maybe pushing the boat out a little bit more but we're not going to break transfer records and spend silly money," said Lennon, who has signed defenders Hatem Abd Elhamed, Boli Bolingoli and Christopher Jullien, and 18-year-old midfielder Luca Connell this summer.

"We have targets in mind and we are working away on that sooner or later. We are looking at maybe two or three positions.

"We also maybe need to move a few players on to get them playing or make room in the squad. Until we do that, we may not look to bring anyone in just yet."

Bolingoli had already been filling in for Tierney this season while the Scotland left back recovered from hernia surgery but Lennon also lost Emilio Izaguirre in the summer and will look to find another player for the position.

"Boli is a work in progress at the minute," Lennon said.

"We are pleased with some of his play.

"He still needs a bit of work, a bit of polishing off, which is fine, but we are delighted to have him in the building.

"And we will look to add another one to that.

"That will all depend on price, wages and the quality of the player.

"But I am not expecting someone to come in and be the next Kieran Tierney. There's only one Kieran Tierney. They will have their own qualities and own ways. I don't think our fans are expecting us to find like for like immediately."

Lennon confirmed Celtic rebuffed interest in Callum McGregor following reports that his predecessor, Brendan Rodgers, launched a late attempt to take the midfielder to Leicester.

"We are not interested in selling any of our better players now," Lennon said.

"It's well documented that there was interest in Callum. It was just an approach, no bid.

"That's over now and we will settle him down.

"He is playing as well as he has ever done and hopefully he will again have another fantastic season as he has done the last couple."

Meanwhile, Lennon admits his team face a tough challenge in a noon kick-off at Motherwell today, their second of three games in seven days along with two Champions League qualifiers against Cluj.

Lennon, whose side drew 1-1 in Romania on Wednesday, said: "I think it's a tough ask for the players. If we come through against Cluj, and I say if because the tie is still in the balance, then by the time we play Rangers on September 1 it will be nine games in a month.

"I'm not complaining. We have to get on with it, but it's a big ask for them to turn things round very, very quickly and play to the same levels in a 48-hour period."

Belfast Telegraph


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