Celtic have signed 15-year-old Karamoko Dembele on a professional deal until 2021, ending speculation, for now, that the midfield prodigy could be heading to the Premier League.
The teenage star became an overnight sensation in 2016 when he played for the Scottish Champions' Under-20 side aged just 13, and there were some concerns from manager Brendan Rodgers that he could have been exposed to too much attention at such a young age.
Having continued his development at an impressive rate since, however, the club today announced on their official website that he had been handed his first professional deal, and will wear the number 77 for Rodgers' champions.
Chelsea and to a lesser extent Manchester City had both been previously credited with an interest in his signature, but the signing of a professional deal means any move would have to be sanctioned by the Glasgow club.
Speaking to Celtic's website about the new deal, Dembele, who first joined at the age of ten, said: “It means a lot to me to start my professional career at Celtic. I came here at a young age, and, after all the stuff me and family have been through together, it’ll be good to make them proud.
"Getting attention at a young age has been hard, but I’ve obviously had my family to help me through that. You need to be strong mentally, you need to stay grounded, and you just need to get on with everything that you do on a daily basis.
"My goal is to play for the first team. As soon as I can, I'm going to try to get into the first team, 100 per cent."