Lennon: I will not be bullied by Man United or Liverpool to sell Wanyama or Hooper
01:08 GMT, 14 December 2012
Neil Lennon expects to have the final
say on any bids for his players next month and insists Celtic will not
be bullied by wealthy English predators.
The Parkhead boss is well aware that
his side's achievements in the Champions League have attracted the
interest of some leading Premiership clubs. Liverpool and Southampton
have been linked with moves for Gary Hooper, while Victor Wanyama
continues to feature high on Manchester United's wanted list.
Impressive: Victor Wanyama
Lennon, though, remains adamant it would take an 'astronomical' offer for Celtic to part with one of their prize assets during the January transfer window while they chase success in four competitions.
And the manager believes it should be down to him – rather than the board – to make the decisive call about whether any cash put forward is acceptable.
'As I have said before, everyone has their price and I think I will have a say in the decision if a huge bid comes in for any of the players,' said Lennon.
'But I don't want them to go. I want them to see this season out anyway and make a real fist of the competitions. There are not many teams still going on four fronts – including the Champions League – with half the season gone.
'Will I have the final say I'd like to think so, yeah.
'At the time when Aiden McGeady was going (to Spartak Moscow for 9.5million in 2010), I felt it was good business.
Warning: Celtic manager Neil Lennon
'It was a good offer and something where we could use the money on the team. We are now in a totally different scenario. We don't need to sell.
'It could be the case that I don't want to stand in the way of a player going to one of the bigger clubs. But I hope I don't have to face that scenario.'
Lennon is confident Celtic are close to agreeing a new contract with Hooper, whose current deal expires in the summer of 2014, while talks also remain on-going with Wanyama's agent.
If there is no conclusion to those discussions in the coming weeks, it could persuade English suitors to test Celtic's resolve with take-it-or-leave-it bids just as the January window is about to close.
Lennon, though, is adamant that tactic would not work as it would leave little time for the club to invest the money recouped.
'If it's the last day of the window, then it's too late,' added Lennon.
'I wouldn't have time (to replace the players) and you've all month to put a bid in. It does happen, but it will not happen here – not to any of our major players anyway.' Lennon would be comfortable to see out the season with his current squad but is in the market for left-sided reinforcements next month.
He also confirmed Celtic are keen on pursuing a deal for US international striker Juan Agudelo, who impressed during a recent training period with the champions.
The 19-year-old, who became his country's youngest-ever goalscorer aged 17, is currently with MLS side Chivas USA.