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Rodgers reacts to Abada abuse claim from Israeli media

Brendan Rodgers has denied a claim of Liel Abada being verbally abused in the street.

The winger hasn’t played for Celtic since an underwhelming substitute appearance away to Hibs on February 7 brought events to a head.

Since then Abada has been left out of the Celtic squad which has mainly been put down to not being in the right frame of mind despite signing a contract extension back in September.

It seems unlikely that the Israeli winger will play again for Celtic with only the timing and nature of his departure to be decided.

Israel have a European Championship Play Off against Iceland on March 21 but unless Abada is back playing it is difficult to see how he can have a role in that match and a possible final play off to reach the finals in Germany.

Adding another twist to transfer speculation Israeli site Sport 5 reported:

Atlanta United and Austin FC have expressed interest in Liel Abeda. Both teams playing in the MLS are interested in adding Celtic’s Israeli, who told the team that he no longer wants to be included in the squad after being verbally attacked while walking down the street.

Responding to that claim, The Herald reported:

Israeli outlet Sport 5 alleged the former PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year had been verbally attacked in Scotland in a story linking him with moves to MLS franchises Atlanta United and Austin United.

But Rodgers said: “I’m not aware of that. I speak regularly with Liel. It’s sadly a situation which doesn’t put him in the right frame of mind to play.

But that’s a day by day thing. He’s still training with the group, sadly not available for the games. We’ll treat him well and look after him well whilst he’s here.”

With Jota sold in the summer to Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia a fully functioning Abada would have been a priceless asset to Rodgers as he attempts to reshape the Celtic side while pushing forward and defending domestic trophies.

That seems unlikely, more so with each passing match that is missed with Abada training at Lennoxtown but not in the squad for the match against Dundee.

Fortunately the transfer window in the MLS remains open until April 2 but some tough negotiations will be required if all sides are to get their wish.

Last summer Celtic could have expected a fee in the region of £10-15m for a 21-year-old goalscoring winger on the back of two seasons in Scotland and one Champions League campaign.

That sort of fee is unlikely to be on offer from the MLS, a year ago Atlanta United signed Giorgos Giakoumakis for £4m. It is likely that Abada sees his future playing in Europe.

Accepting a lower price fee with significant sell-on clause looks to be the likely solution, going out on loan would only delay a decision over issues completely outside of the norm for football clubs to deal with.

CLICK HERE for Matt O’Riley’s transfer fee to Atletico Madrid.

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