Celtic boss Neil Lennon admitted he felt “disappointed” by Jeremie Frimpong’s decision to join German side Bayer Leverkusen in the January transfer window.
The 20-year-old signed for the Hoops in 2019 and went on to make 36 league appearances in Scotland, delivering performances that caught the eye of some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
And Frimpong was clearly aware of the interest in his services, refusing to sign a new contract with Celtic, and declaring his intention to leave as soon as possible. The move appears close, with coach Lennon confirming he has accepted an offer of around € 13million from Bayer for the youngster, as Glasgow Live reports.
The 49-year-old has spoken candidly about Frimpong’s decision to leave Celtic, saying he felt “disappointed” by the Dutchman, who he said is still far from the finished article.
“Yes, I feel a bit disappointed because we felt we could take him further and we offered him a new deal that would have kept him here for another two or three years, but it depended on the player’s personal ambition .
“It remains to be seen if this is the right path for him. For us, however, from a business point of view – and maybe also from a football point of view – when a player’s mind is set like this, it’s very difficult to bring him back.
“It wasn’t a surprise at all. It has been planned for a few months. We offered the player talks for a new deal a few months ago, but he refused and made it clear he wanted to leave, despite our best efforts to keep him. “
Lennon has also claimed that rumors surrounding Frimpong’s future have affected his performance on the pitch and believes the deal is ultimately the best outcome for the club, given the potentially unconscious loss of tools.
“We got a very solid offer for him and after talking at length about it we think it’s the best thing for the club going forward.
“The size of the offer was a good deal for the club and the point is that he would have come off a bit in his last games as well, as if he had been distracted by all the speculation surrounding the move.
“It’s difficult when he’s a player you’ve helped develop. You’re sorry to see him go, but ultimately he didn’t want to stay and progress here. He was determined to leave so we made our decision.