Dedryck Boyata: Celtic reject Fulham bid for Belgium defender

Dedryck Boyata
Dedryck Boyata training with Celtic on Tuesday morning

Celtic have rejected a bid from Fulham for defender Dedryck Boyata, manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed.

The Belgium international, 27, will not feature in Wednesday's Champions League third qualifying round first leg against AEK Athens.

Boyata, who is in the final year of his contract, has not played for Celtic since returning from the World Cup and is not ready for a first-team return.

"He is a player that we don't want to lose," said Rodgers.

"Yes, we have had a few enquiries and there was a confirmed bid by Fulham for him. We know he is in the last year of his deal.

"He has been a fantastic player for me in my time here, he had an excellent World Cup when he played.

"He is clearly a player of value and, at this point in time for us, he is very important and the club rejected that.

"At this stage it would be pretty difficult for us to sell him because there is not a replacement there."

Former Manchester City, Bolton and Twente player Boyata was signed by Rodgers' predecessor Ronny Deila in 2015 and the Belgian has made more than a century of appearances for the Scottish side and won 10 senior international caps.

He could be back in Rodgers' team after the weekend Premiership trip to face Hearts, by which time promoted Fulham will have started their Premier League campaign at home to Crystal Palace.

Meanwhile, Rodgers says his interest in Hibernian midfielder John McGinn is not over but admits things could be taken out of Celtic's hands, with Aston Villa keen to sign the Scotland international.

"He is a player that we clearly wanted to bring here," said Rodgers. "I was really interested in bringing him in from a few months back.

"We haven't been able to complete a deal and of course when you don't complete a deal on a player it always opens the door for other teams - a club like Aston Villa, who have clearly interest in him, who have a big history of their own, a great club with excellent facilities and now financial backing.

"So we have to wait and see on that one."

A graphic of Dedryck Boyata's time at Celtic

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