Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing Lyon forward Moussa Dembele. Despite the January loan of former Watford player Odion Ighalo proving successful, the Northern club still seemingly want to fill the gap Romelu Lukaku left when he signed for Inter Milan.
The Red Devils haven’t made their ongoing demand for a striker a secret, with the likes of Victor Osimhen, Wissam Ben Yedder, Timo Werner and Harry Kane dominating headlines. However, according to Manchester Evening News, Dembele has caught the eye of United’s scouting network and is interested in a move to Old Trafford.
Before Ligue 1 was cancelled due to the global health crisis, the Frenchman racked up 16 goals in 27 appearances. This impeccable record has been overshadowed. Abandoning the league has made PSG the champions and put many Olympique Lyon supporters in dismay; they were placed 7th before the pandemic ended football.
Lyon were 5th in the table a week before the last matchday but finished seventh. They said they might appeal against the verdict. Now set to miss out on a place in Europe next season, senior officials at the club claim they “reserve the right to claim damages”, this reportedly amounts to “several tens of millions of euros”. This decision will result in many top players wanting a move away from the Groupama stadium – including 23-year-old Dembele.
The former Celtic man is ideal for United’s new transfer criteria with his age, and – having come through the youth ranks at Fulham – Dembele would also qualify as a homegrown player. The player’s representatives are seemingly excited by the possibility of playing for United but understand that the decision ultimately lies with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ed Woodward.
Although Dembele may seem a brilliant signing, he would partner with a hefty fee. Woodward, United’s CEO, has hinted that moves for big-money players are unlikely because of Coronavirus’ financial effects on football.
Woodward said: “Nobody should be under any illusions about the scale of challenge facing everyone in football and it may not be ‘business as usual’ for any clubs, including ourselves, in the transfer market this summer.
“As ever our priority is the success of the team, but we need visibility of the impact across the whole industry, including timings of the transfer window, and the wider financial picture, before we can talk about a return to normality.”
Woodward has also stated: “There’s a big disconnect between stories [about hundreds of millions worth of transfers] and the economic realities facing football clubs in general.
“Clearly it’s true we are fortunate to be in a strong financial position compared to many clubs, but we are not immune from the financial impact of what this virus is doing.”
Chelsea have also shown an interest in signing the striker this summer, with Frank Lampard keen on providing some competition for Tammy Abraham. However, many reports claim The Blues would prefer Arsenal striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. Bleacher Report says that the Gabonese international would cost a similar price to Dembele.
Odion Ighalo has surprisingly excelled at United and the prospect of a permanent deal is very much on the cards. However, with Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford already providing attacking depth, it is unlikely that Dembele and Ighalo will both sign.