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Karamoko Dembele Gets Set To Leave Celtic. Is He Just Another Wasted Youth?

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There is a gap between reality and expectation, and we have seen this time and time again as football fans.

Nowhere is it clearer than with the number of youth players who have passed through our club in the last few years, and have gone on to be disappointments rather than the hits we were all hoping that they would be.

There are scores of them, but some of them stand out above the rest because the expectations and hopes for them were so high. Some disappointed us by not sticking around.

Ben Doak is the latest of them.

Others just fail to hit the heights we thought they were certain to scale.

One of them played today, in the Chesterfield v Solihull playoff match.

It was Calvin Miller. Solihull beat his team 3-1. They are a National League team.

It’s several levels below where everyone expected this boy to play.

To understand how big a shock it is, you have to remember the hype that surrounded this kid once upon a time. He is only 24 and so you cannot rule out a major career renaissance … still, his progress stalled somewhere.

He is far from the only example we have, but his is a particularly glaring one.

No-one needs to be reminded, furthermore, of the greatest of the flops, Islam Feruz, who had his own hype machine which promoted his cause for years.

He left Celtic without playing a single first team game for the club. He went to Chelsea where he thought he’d made it, and he immediately bought himself a sexy new ride and developed superstar syndrome.

He never scored a competitive first team goal, anywhere, for anyone.

He had plenty of chances to get it right too, with several loan moves sending him to various clubs, none of whom turned him into the player that he should have been. What talent he had was wasted, utterly.

He now sells hats for a living.

Which is appalling considering where he’d once been.

Karamoko Dembele is about to come to the end of his contract.

It will probably be the end of his time at our club. What in the Hell went wrong for this kid? Could he be convinced to stay for another shot at it, or has the club decided his shift is over?

He had as much talent as Feruz. That’s been said over and over, by people at every level of the club. Unlike Feruz, he played first team matches and has scored a competitive goal.

But he’s 19, which is older than Feruz was when he left. There is an argument to be made for giving this guy a new deal, but is he interested in signing it, and what would the offer entail?

We aren’t going to guarantee him games, and at his age and stage of development there’s an argument for saying that he ought to be playing them. The boy has something, but does he have enough about him to justify first team football?

Probably not at Celtic, and that’s a shame … but it’s also the hard reality of football.

Some have got the stuff to make it – and skill is only a small part of that – and some don’t. Karamoko Dembele has a lot to prove.

I don’t think he’ll get to prove it at Parkhead.

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10 comments
  • Charlie Kelly says:

    Another would be superstar same as all the others you mentioned he will end up driving a Taxi
    Telling everyone I once played for Celtic
    Let him go spend time on the kids who want to play for us

  • Keith Grant says:

    Good article, think what your saying is correct, such a shame to see talent going to waste, if attitude not right get rid.!

  • jrm63 says:

    A perennial problem is physical strength. Even a player who did make it like Nicholas operated at the margins. He had no upper body strength, or the engine required. I am convinced that Ange bought Maeda partly for that reason. If you want to play at this level, this is the physical standard to which you aspire. Or its Solihull. There are very few players in that development squad who will make it – the 2 central defenders, Carse and Vata perhaps.

  • John says:

    Not sure this lads heart is at Celtic. seams to go about with a permanent scowl on his face even when involved with first team. Personally, I’d leave it to Ange to decide if he merits another contract. As we know, he’s a pretty shrewd judge.

  • Henry says:

    There is something seriously wrong with the development of players at all clubs in Scotland, Celtic used to have a conveyor belt of talent. Now the only players who make it are the exception. When was the last time we brought through a top class forward, or a top class centre back? In 20 years I can only think of McGregor, Tierney, McGeady and Maloney as being consistently good.

  • john clarke says:

    Very informative James.
    Karamoko Dembele’s contract expires 31 May, 2022 (tomorrow). He will then be a “free agent”. Over the past year or two, he would have felt cocooned. Ange said in March that he will sit down with Karamoko at some time in the future and have a talk with him..
    This talk would have been private and confidential. Tommy Mcintyre knows the areas where Karamoko needs to improve his game. It’s not in the skills area. It night be in the area of not nicking with his team mates as a strategic team player . He has a tendency to hold the ball for too long rather than execute quick passes. He can do this because he has superior dribbling skills to most players. I believe he will play at a fairly high level in professional football. He is good enough to play firsts for most teams in the Scottish Premier League, except for Celtic FC, Rangers and perhaps Hearts. Maybe not…he could play for Hearts after their lacklustre last game. It would be terrific to see him play firsts for Hibernian FC on a one year deal so all Celtic Fans could see how good he is at the SPL level. I am sure Ange will respectfully provide useful guidance to Karamoko. If he leaves Celtic FC; the Celtic family, will wish him all the best and follow his career.

  • SSMPM says:

    We had so much hope for him however being a great youth doesn’t mean you’ll develop into a first team player at Celtic. His performances so far never us down but they were only bit part and at the same time he never lit the heather alight. Ange has eyes on him daily and he’ll know if that’s the limit of his potential or perhaps he might surprise us. Good luck to the lad whatever the outcome

  • Iljas Baker says:

    Best for this young lad is a new contract and out on loan. He may not want to go out on loan so then it would be no new contract. Perhaps he took all the hype too much to heart. Anyway I wish him well.

  • Jim says:

    It’s been apparent for some years that he was going to be very small in stature. Messi had hormone treatments to build him up physically. There must have been a reason why something like that wasn’t possible with Karamoko. I’m sure the club would have done everything it could.

    The height given for him is 5ft 4in which is the same height as Jinky and a certain Argentinian who wasn’t bad, but both of those little guys were exceptionally fast and strong for their size, and the game is even more physically demanding than it was in their day.

    He clearly isn’t knocking on the door here so if he stays he should get out on loan as soon as he can.

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