BRENDAN Rodgers has predicted that Celtic may be able to capitalise on the Premier League transfer window closing three weeks earlier than usual as they attempt to strengthen their squad further.

Top flight clubs in England only have until five o’clock next Thursday afternoon to sign players – three weeks earlier than in this country - in a change that has been introduced this year.

Rodgers, who has only brought in Scott Bain and Odsonne Edouard this summer and is keen to make more quality acquisitions before the end of August, believes that could work to the Scottish champions’ advantage.

He suspects the asking price for the Parkhead club’s signing targets will change significantly and become more affordable after the transfer window closes down south next week.

Asked if he thought the move might work in Celtic’s favour, Rodgers said: “It may do. I think it’s a big hindrance for the Premier League, but it can maybe benefit us in a different way.

“I think they are hamstrung in terms of what they can do. Once their window closes the squads are settled and there’s maybe room for other players to be brought in.

“The Premier League had the right idea and concept - players have been sitting beside others in a changing room who wanted to go but were expected to fight for points.

“At the same time it can make it more difficult. We’ll see - it might open up the market and the availability might be more for us.

“I think it’s something that will change next year. There has to be uniformity around Europe or go back to the way it was.The difficulty is that leagues are starting at different times.”

Rodgers, who has seen Stuart Armstrong, Erik Sviatchenko and Patrick Roberts depart in the close season, admitted there had been he will be reluctant to allow any member of his squad to leave either on loan or in a permanent deal in the coming weeks.

He said: “There are players of interest to other clubs, but at this moment in time I don’t have interest in losing players if the squad is down in numbers.

“All the players are working hard and fighting to improve themselves and there’s still a lot of time to go before the end of August.

“You need to have a competitive squad to bring the best out of it. I’m happy with the players we have, but we need to strengthen and that’s what we aim to do. It’s only natural.”

Meanwhile, Celtic striker Moussa Dembele has been ruled out of both AEK Athens games after it emerged his hamstring injury was more serious than was first believed.

However, Leigh Griffiths is set to return to the Scottish champions’ squad in their opening Ladbrokes Premiership game against Livingston tomorrow for the first time since undergoing a clean-up operation.

Dembele limped off after scoring twice against Alashkert of Armenia in the second leg of the second qualifying round last month and missed the double header with Rosenborg of Norway.

But Brendan Rodgers, whose side will face Greek champions AEK at Parkhead on Wednesday night following their 3-1 aggregate win over Rosenborg, has revealed that the French forward is set to spend longer on the sidelines.

“The medical guys are telling me that it is probably going to be the next two to three weeks, a bit longer than we had anticipated,” he said. “That is the way it is.

“Leigh will be back in the squad. He has been out for a while. He needs to get his fitness up. He has been working hard at trying to get that up. We have kept him behind to work on that side. He will be in the squad for the weekend hopefully.”

Rodgers will continue to assess the fitness of Dedryck Boyata and Mikael Lustig, who have returned to training after playing for Belgium and Sweden in the World Cup finals, before the first Athens match.

“We will see where we are at next week,” he said. “Dedryck looks great. He looks physically strong, but it is about managing that. Mika has been back in for a few weeks.

“It is that period where you are trying to win important games, but you have to be mindful that you have to get the guys in your squad up to some sort of match speed. That is the balance between the league games now and the Champions League games – to try and maximise what we can get out of them all.”

Rodgers revealed that Scott Brown, the Celtic captain, had played against Rosenborg in Trondheim this week despite having an Achilles injury, but backed him to recover from it quickly and become the first Scot to make 100 appearances in Europe next Wednesday night.

“He had the same thing at this time last year,” he said. “He will soldier on like he does and play himself out of it. I think it is just a case of getting through it over these next two to three weeks.

“He has made himself available for all these games. He is wonderful example for all our players, both senior and youth.

“His leadership qualities and his drive and hunger to play is admirable. Hopefully he has got many more.”