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Transfer window profile : The wonder kid who is still a kid !
Thursday, 25th Jan 2024 08:15 by Keith Haynes

At twenty years of age Karamoko Dembélé has found a home in Brest, France having signed a four year contract on a free transfer from Celtic in the summer of 2022. The fact he managed to get a good deal at Stade Brestois 29 after a disappointing end to nine years at Celtic is commendable. It displayed a determination to succeed from a young man who was out in the cold at the time.

Surprisingly, Karamoko featured just once for his club in August this season with two inclusions on the bench. He had a better run of it the previous season with fourteen appearances from the bench and was involved throughout the season. Unfortunately he contributed no goals or assists. This season and before the summer transfer deadline ended he was put out on loan at Blackpool, this has seen him flourish in league one. He has featured in the squad for twenty three games so far with fourteen starts and eight assists. He has found the net twice. You may have seen him put away a goal assisted by Kyle Joseph last week in the FA Cup against Nottingham Forest.

Despite his 5’7” height he does possess pace and awareness on the football field. He played just the one game for Celtic but had a decent number of opportunities to impress at Brest. It didn’t seem to work out. He’s young and being in a strange country could well have affected his overall confidence, it’s hard to say. He does deny this and states he loves the country and culture. Kieran Devlin writing in the Athletic stated in 2020 ‘ More importantly, I’ve been told by multiple sources there are worries over his application and attitude. This is why he’s not part of the first-team picture when he was originally planned to be more involved this year, with hopes he might even be James Forrest’s understudy on the right-wing.’

Scottish football journalists still follow Karamoko and often report on his success at Blackpool. He was once described as a potential to have all the assets to play at the very top of the European game. Kevin Graham from ‘A Celtic state of mind’ explains. “He was a generational talent. And I’m maybe gonna say something here that people will probably slaughter me for, but I’m going to say it anyway. And I don’t think it’s daft. If Delia or Rodgers were the manager of the club, Karamoko Dembele would have been a first team regular the now.”

Karamoko on the up and focussed ?

It’s possible the talent that Karamoko seemed to have at thirteen has been wasted, and that concerns many even today. Looking in to his profile it’s very clear the attitude has been wrong and his application poor. However, that seems to have sorted itself out this season. Maturity perhaps ? At thirteen years of age he was playing in the Celtic U20 side, yes thirteen. Everything he did turned to gold. But at eighteen he couldn’t even get Celtic to offer him anything at all to stay. They had made their mind up. Their final straw came when his attitude impinged on training issues and that was that. Even Ange Postecoglou when Celtic manager came in for a bit of stick from Karamoko. When asked why Ange didn’t fancy him in the first team he replied, “A lot of reasons that I can not say, but I think the manager didn’t really like the way I played or saw something that was missing in my game.

We have to look at the positives as well, this young player is at last enjoying his football and wants to prove himself in the professional game. This season to date may well be the catalyst for Karamoko, but he has to convince a lot of people. Clubs from the Championship have been taking note, nothing has been completed though. It would involve a recall to Brest and then another loan at least unless of course a club can match the value of the player, which isn’t high. He needs development and he needs to feel he is wanted, that’s for sure. He will either be the new Leon Knight or as many expected when he was skipping through defences on YouTube a new Messi !

Photographs IMAGO/PPAUK via Reuters Connect

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