Celtic fans are rightly getting excited about their talented young forward Karamoko Dembele. The 16-year-old has been talked about for a number of years already and at the weekend he made his first-team debut against Hearts.
Celtic are hoping he can go on to become a top star for the Bhoys, but it could have been so different.
In fact, Celtic have FIFA to thank for Dembele still being a Celtic player.
As reported by Sport, Dembele was extremely close to joining Barcelona. The report claims that in 2015 the Catalan giants were closing in on the player’s signature. Barca had been in discussions with his representatives and the player himself had agreed to head to La Masia.
However, they pulled the plug due to his age and FIFA’s crackdown on the signing of youth players from foreign countries.
Barcelona were handed a transfer ban in 2014 due to breaching rules surrounding the signature of under-18s. Players from South Korea, Cameroon and Japan were all involved in the story. It is a similar ban to the one recently handed down to Chelsea.
With that in mind, Barcelona decided to avoid Dembele, so as not to poke the proverbial bear. In this case, the bear being FIFA.
Because of that FIFA crackdown, Celtic still have Dembele on their books and will hope he can go on to become their very own Lionel Messi. Barcelona will need to find another.