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Brendan Rodgers reacts to Korean transfer rumours

Brendan Rodgers has responded to reports coming out of South Korea that Kwon Hyeok-kyu and Yang Hyun-Jun have signed for Celtic.

Busan Ipark and Gangwon were both adamant over the weekend that deals had been done complete with social media announcements and emotional farewells from the players.

Gangwon broke the news on Yang on Saturday morning while Celtic were playing Portimonense but there hasn’t been any mention from the hoops of either deal.

Celtic’s two match trip to Japan led to some suggestions that a double announcement could be made with the players present but there has still been no comment from the club.

On Tuesday Brendan Rodgers held a media conference with The Sun asking about links to the two Koreans.

The Celtic boss told The Sun: “There is nothing to confirm as yet. We are working very hard on various things to make the group better. The best time to improve and develop is when the team is doing well.

There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to get the team ready for when it matters. And there is still a bit of time to go.”

The report in The Sun claims that the players will arrive in Scotland next week which leaves them with their Korea clubs to prepare for life in Europe while paperwork is progressed.

Yang’s move was played out in public over a couple of weeks with the winger unhappy at the way Gangwon handled negotiations, at one point suggesting that he would pay the K-League side from his own salary to ensure that the move goes through.

It seemed that the financial details of the transfer were all agreed but Gangwon wanted the move put back until January or to go through with an immediate loan back.

Neither Celtic or the player were interested in those options, after signing a new winger Gangwon gave in to the inevitable and posted a Thank You message to Yang on Instagram before Saturday’s match with Seoul where Yang said good-bye to supporters.

Gangwon are currently in 11th place in the 12 team K-League, clearly having someone who would rather be elsewhere isn’t going to help their battle against relegation.

On Sunday attention switched to Busan Ipark who included Kwon in their side for the K2 match at home to Seongnam.

The defensive midfielder didn’t have the send off that he was hoping for with his side losing 3-2 but he was still given an impressive send off by the Busan fans.

Since the weekend Kwon has discussed his move to Celtic, explaining that he intends using it as a stepping stone to a subsequent transfer on to England or Germany.

Rodgers currently has plenty of midfield options with Callum McGregor and Reo Hatate automatic picks when they are fit and available.

Matt O’Riley was close to being a regular last season with Tomoki Iwata and David Turnbull pushing for a place. Already this summer Odin Thiago Holm has been added to the squad with the young Norwegian in a similar situation to Kwon.

Celtic play their first public friendly match this morning with an 11am Celtic Park kick off for the game against Yokohama F Marinos.

Playing a team in mid-season on their home ground will be a tough test for the hoops with Rodgers aware that although the match is only a friendly some initial judgements will be made.

One area of concern in the side is at right-back where Tony Ralston has joined Alistair Johnston on the sidelines with neither player with the squad in Japan.

That could open the door for Ben McPherson to play at right-back with Reo Hatate moving back or switching to a three man defence the other options open to the Celtic boss.


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