Brighton boss Chris Hughton denies holding talks over Moussa Dembele transfer

Moussa Dembele celebrates making it 3-1 at Hampden Park

Chris Hughton says there has been no communication between Brighton and Celtic over the transfer of Moussa Dembele.

Sky Sports News reported last month that an £18m fee had been agreed between the two clubs, but Celtic and Brighton deny this.

Speaking ahead of Brighton's FA Cup third-round tie against Crystal Palace, Hughton said: "There has been huge speculation, certainly on this particular one. There were some quotes, going back a little while ago, concerning figures and communication between the two clubs.

"Categorically, there has not been any communication between the two clubs. He is just a name along with lots of other names.

Celtic's Moussa Dembele.
Image: Dembele made 49 appearances in all competitions during his first season at Celtic, and scored 32 goals before his campaign was curtailed by a thigh injury.

When asked if Brighton plan to make contact over Dembele in the future, he said: "Pure speculation is probably the only way [to describe it]. If I talk about players the club might have an interest in, there would be numerous names. This is one name that has been consistently linked, there could be numerous others.

"We will continue to work as hard as we can on anyone we might want to bring in."

Lewis Dunk is worthy of an England call-up, says his Brighton manager Chris Hughton
Image: Lewis Dunk will not be leaving Brighton in the January transfer window, says Chris Hughton

Hughton also ruled out the possibility of defender Lewis Dunk leaving the club during the January transfer window amid newspaper reports linking the 26-year-old with a move to Liverpool.

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"That would be a huge surprise to me," he said.

"Lewis has been magnificent for us, certainly during my period of time here. He has improved as a player and we have a chairman who has resisted any temptation of him not being here during that period.

"I fully expect him to be a Brighton player come the end of January."

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