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Musonda deal a coup for Celtic, beams Rodgers

By Ronnie Esplin

Brendan Rodgers claims Celtic beat off competition from 24 other clubs to sign Chelsea attacker Charly Musonda.

The 21-year-old arrived in Glasgow yesterday morning to sign an 18-month loan deal with the Parkhead club following a medical.

The Belgium Under-21 player has made seven appearances for Chelsea this season since returning from a loan spell at Spanish side Real Betis.

Musonda is slated to go into the Hoops squad for the Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Hearts at Parkhead tonight.

"Subject to a medical, it is a really exciting prospect for the club," Ulsterman Rodgers said.

"Charly is a big talent that I've known for a few years now. Firstly, if it all goes through, it is a big thank you for Chelsea because he is really one of the shining lights within the academy and has progressed through with various loans out and obviously has been part of the first-team squad.

"I think there was up to 24 clubs interested in taking Charly so for him to want to come here and Chelsea very happily to want him to come is a great coup for us as a football club.

"It is also a great opportunity for Charly to show his talent.

"He is a very exciting player, very dynamic, wonderful ability on the ball, works very hard, loves his football and is a bright player. We have had a number of injuries to creative players and he will add that creativity and I am excited to work with him."

Rodgers is confident that Musonda, who began his career at Anderlecht before moving to Stamford Bridge at the age of 16, has arrived in Scotland ready to get started immediately.

The former Swansea and Liverpool boss said: "He came on against Brighton and made a wonderful pass and set up the fourth goal. He is also a naturally fit boy as well.

"Everything has gone through and we can hopefully make him available for tomorrow night and he can get up and running."

Hearts ended Celtic's 69-game domestic unbeaten run with a 4-0 victory at Tynecastle in December but Rodgers has been pleased with how his side have responded.

He said: "We deservedly lost on the day, that was clear. Hearts coped with the conditions better than us and deserved the victory.

"But I like judging a team in their response. We were always going to lose at some point and if you look at the reaction, we have played seven games, won six, drawn one and kept a clean sheet in all of them bar one, which was a penalty at Partick Thistle.

"So it is a great testament to the players and their focus and mentality, and hopefully we will get another good result tomorrow."

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