Chelsea's Dominic Solanke a fantastic talent, says Brendan Rodgers

Dominic Solanke celebrates
Dominic Solanke (right) celebrates after scoring for England Under-19s

Brendan Rodgers has described Dominic Solanke as "a fantastic talent" and says he can understand why the Chelsea striker has been linked with Celtic.

"I know Dominic well," said the Celtic boss of the 19-year-old. "I took Dominic into Chelsea when he was eight years of age.

"It is unfortunate it looks like he is not going to renew his contract at Chelsea.

"I can see where there is a connection with him, but nothing more than that."

Rodgers did admit that Celtic were the kind of club that would be a good next step for someone like Solanke.

He pointed to the example of 32-goal striker Moussa Dembele, who moved to Celtic from Fulham last summer for a smaller development fee than would have been the case had he moved to a rival club in England, and on-loan Manchester City winger Patrick Roberts.

"This is a huge club that will attract players no matter, but the compensation situation up here means it is a very attractive offer for a young player, his family and an agent to think you can come out of England maybe and come up to a huge club," said Rodgers.

Partick Roberts and Moussa Dembele
Roberts and Dembele have scored 41 goals between them for Celtic this season

"You only need to look at Moussa's development this year, you only have to look at Patrick Roberts' development over the last 18 months.

"He [Roberts] leaves here to Manchester City a winner. He has his hands on trophies, playing in Champions League football and playing in big games and he's learning to become a winner.

"There is a huge attraction here for any young player."

Rodgers said that young players, like Solanke, leaving top academies in England were attractive targets for Celtic.

"Unfortunately, there is only so many of them that can play in the first team, but there is a raft of talent and it would be silly for us not to tap into that when the right profile of player becomes available," he said.

"I am delighted for Dominic and the career that he's had up to now as a young player.

"He is a fantastic talent and Chelsea is a great club, but he deems maybe that his future lies elsewhere."

Goalkeeper dilemma?

With third-choice Logan Bailly poised to leave Celtic this summer, Rodgers was asked if he was likely to sign a senior replacement or look to promote from within.

"I've got some brilliant young keepers in here," said the manager.

"We've got Craig Gordon, clearly our number one goalkeeper and has been outstanding, Dorus de Vries in behind him, a very experienced number two goalkeeper.

"I've then got two young goalkeepers, Conor Hazard and Ross Doohan - both outstanding talents, under 19.

Conor Hazard
Hazard was on the bench for Celtic's recent win over Kilmarnock

"Within our system here we have real talent that we want to develop and improve, so certainly we are not looking beyond what we have at the moment."

Eighteen-year-olds Michael Johnston and Anthony Ralston featured in Celtic's 4-1 win over St Johnstone on Saturday, with winger Johnston making his debut.

And Rodgers said of the duo: "The critical period for them is getting ready for pre-season, because they will come into my squad, I can have a real close look at them and see if they are ready to come in and feature more regularly.

"If not, it might mean they go out [on loan]."

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