Celtic boss Neil Lennon has admitted that he feels 'let down' by Jeremie Frimpong's decision to join German outfit Bayer Leverkusen in the January transfer window.
The 20-year-old signed for the Hoops in 2019 and has gone on to make 36 league appearances in Scotland, delivering displays which have caught the attention 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 stating his intentions to leave as soon as possible. That move appears to be near, with coach Lennon confirming that they have accepted a bid of around €13m from Bayer for the youngster, as reported by Glasgow Live.
The 49-year-old has spoken frankly regarding Frimpong's decision to leave Celtic, stating that he feels 'let down' by the Dutchman, who he believes is still far from the finished article.
“Yes, I feel a bit let down because we felt we could progress him further and we offered him a new deal which would have kept him here for another two or three years but it was down to the player’s personal ambition.
“Whether that’s the right way for him remains to be seen. For us, though, from a business point of view - and maybe from a footballing point of view as well - when a player’s mind is set like that it’s very difficult to bring him back round.
“It didn’t come as a surprise at all. This has been in the offing for the past couple of months. We offered the player talks for a new deal a few months back but he declined and made it clear that he wanted to leave, despite our best efforts to keep him."
Lennon also claimed that rumours surrounding Frimpong's future had affected his performances on the pitch, and believes the deal is ultimately the best outcome for the club, given his potentially subconscious downing of tools.
“We’ve received a very robust offer for him and, after talking about it at length, we think it’s the best thing for the club going forward.
“The size of the offer was good business for the club and the fact is that he’d also come off it a little bit in his last few games, as though he’d been distracted by all the speculation surrounding the move.
“It’s difficult when it’s a player you’ve helped to develop. You’re sorry to see him go but, eventually, he didn’t want to stay and progress here. There was a determination about him to go so we took our decision.”