If this week’s sale of Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool showed anything, it is that Celtic should not be selling players to England on the cheap.

And if it turns out, as I think it might, that Moussa Dembele leaves Celtic in the current transfer window then he should be allowed to go for less than £30m. The Parkhead club are well within their rights to get what the player is worth.

But whether Dembele is primed to go or not in January, I would still be handing him a starting jersey for tomorrow’s game against Rangers at Celtic Park.

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I saw the reaction from leigh Griffiths when he scored up at Dens Park on Boxing Day and I get the argument that if you score and the manager tells everyone you played well that you can expect to be in the starting line up for the next game.

But football doesn’t always work like that and Dembele for me just has the edge on Griffiths.

As I have said before, the way Griffiths improved his all-round play last year definitely made the margins between them that bit finer but I would still go with Dembele against Rangers because he has that big game temperament.

He has been unfortunate with injuries between the end of last season and the beginning of this which have inevitably had an effect on his impact on the team but he remains for me one of the real up and coming players of his generation.

I also think it underpins the importance of a strong pre-season.

I think not being fully fit and missing games at the start of the season means you are always playing catch-up in terms of getting up to speed with everyone else. But he remains for me a young player with the ability to go on and play at the very top level.

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Which takes me back to my original point; Celtic should not allow him to head off to England for the likes of the £18m that was quoted this week.

Celtic insisted that was rubbish and you can see why.

Whether the player believes Brighton would be the right step for him to take is between him and his advisors but what you have to remember is the financial muscle these clubs have. If they can table the right kind of money then who is to say what happens next.

The one thing that you would say about Dembele is that he has never agitated for a move. He has never sulked about a move – and there is some suggestion he could have forced a move to Chelsea in the final days of last year’s window – but he has been content to go along with his own plan.

At the same time he has never made a secret of the fact that ultimately he wanted to spend a few years at Celtic and use that as a stepping stone to a bigger league.

The experience of having to play and perform for a big club and all the pressures that go with being at Celtic were always viewed as part of his development. I have a feeling he believes it is time to make the move but equally, if the right club does not emerge then I think he would be content to wait until the summer.

I cannot see that he will be creating a fuss behind the scenes because he doesn’t come across as that type at all.

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Like most players who are confident of their own ability, I think he understands that if he is performing on the European stage and coming up with the goods then he will always remain on the radar of other clubs.

I suspect, too, that if he is allowed to go in January that there will be a replacement lined up.

Of course, at this time of year that can be easier said than done.

Strikers come at a premium at the best of times but mid-season it can be tough get what you want when clubs are focussed on the latter half of their campaigns.

From a Celtic perspective you are always wanting players in and bedded into the team ahead of the Champions League qualifiers – four rounds this summer – because there is no argument that these are the most important games of the season.

For now, though, Dembele is a Celtic player.

If it transpires that Saturday’s game against rangers could be his last hurrah in a Celtic shirt then it would be a fitting way for him to bow out given that it was in this fixture almost 18 months ago when he truly announced his arrival at the club.

The fact he was left out of the starting line-up at Dens Park makes me think he was kept fresh for tomorrow. We shall soon see.