Neil Lennon hopes he will be given Kieran Tierney’s record £25million transfer fee to reinvest in his Celtic squad.
The Hoops boss was busy overseeing his team’s 1-1 Champions League draw with Cluj as reports broke that a deal had been struck with Arsenal to make Tierney Scotland’s most expensive ever footballer.
The 22-year-old boyhood Celtic fan is now on his way to London to put the final touches on a five-year deal at the Gunners.
A medical is also to be completed but provided there are no last-minute hitches the left-back’s switch should be completed ahead of Thursday’s 5pm English transfer deadline.
Tierney’s departure now leaves Lennon with a major hole to fill.
Summer signing Boli Bolingoli deputised for Tierney – who has yet to return to action after a double hernia operation two months ago – in Romania but he had a night to forget.
Now Lennon hopes he will be able to use some of the cash generated by Tierney’s sale to beef up his team.
Lennon told BBC Radio Scotland: “I hope so. There are a few areas that I’d like to improve in.
“I don’t know (if a deal has been agreed) but like I’ve said the last few days it wouldn’t surprise me. These things tend to naturally take their course, so we’ll have to wait and see.
“I’ve not had any confirmation at all. If that is the case then he goes with everybody’s best wishes. He’s a superb player and will be a big loss to us.
“It shows the work that people have done at the club, whether it be Brendan Rodgers, Ronny Deila or the people at the academy to produce such a fine player. He’s an outstanding young talent and a great kid.”
Hoops skipper Scott Brown echoed the thoughts of his manager as he added: “Kieran’s a fantastic player. There’s always going to be interest in him. He will be a big miss if he goes.”
While Tierney’s exit will deflate a fanbase that has taken the self-confessed Hoops diehard to their hearts, Lennon will hope to raise their spirits by leading Celtic back to the Champions League group stages.
And his team are well-placed to reach the play-offs after the draw in Transylvania.
Mario Rondon drew first blood for the hosts when he slotted home just before the half-hour mark – but Lennon’s team now return to Glasgow packing a vital away goal after James Forrest quickly cancelled out the opener.
“It’s a great result,” the Northern Irishman added. “The away goal is priceless for us.
“The guys will be a match fitter for it. You could see at the end some of them were starting to struggle with the heat. It’s been a tough game but a great night’s work and we’re looking forward to the second leg.
“I was delighted with our attacking play and we looked really dangerous early on. Maybe our final ball just let us down a little bit but I always felt we’d have the capability of scoring.
“They scored a great goal on the counter but our reaction was superb.”
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