Manchester United know they might be forced to dig into the transfer market to bolster their attacking line. Knowing both Juventus and Inter Milan are keen on Romelu Lukaku, there are chances the Belgium international ends up leaving the Old Trafford side before the transfer window closes.
If that’s the case, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already identified the replacement. The Norwegian tactician has not been shy on his desire of signing Moussa Dembele as Lukaku’s replacement. But who is this French striker who has been grabbing headlines left and right due to his performances over the past 12 months?
Let’s begin by saying Dembele has already been linked with a move to Manchester United in the past. The 23-year-old forward spent time with Celtic and The Red Devils were one of many Premier League side that were scouting him. But he chose to return to France, and he’s coming off a stellar year playing for Olympique Lyon.
Dembele’s 2018-19 season by the numbers
Dembele scored 15 goals in 33 Ligue 1 appearances for Les Olympians while playing alongside the likes of Memphis Depay and Nabil Fekir. If we include all competitions into the mix, then Dembele’s numbers look even better: 23 goals in 52 appearances. To put things into perspective, Manchester United’s top scorer during the 2018/19 Premier League season was Paul Pogba with 13 goals. In fact, Pogba was United’s top scorer across all competitions with 15 strikes.
Now, playing both Lukaku and Dembele at the same thing is not going to happen. Like the Belgian, Dembele thrives playing inside the box but tends to get lost drifting into a deeper / wider role. He needs to play between the centre-backs to make an impact, and right now it seems it’s either Dembele or Lukaku at Manchester United next season. Definitively, not both.
What are Manchester United’s chances to sign the coveted French striker?
Lyon might be reluctant to part ways with their star striker, though. And no one could blame them given the side’s transfer activity this summer. Let’s keep in mind Fekir already left the side to join Real Betis. And Depay has also been linked with a Lyon exit this summer. The Ligue 1 contenders can’t afford to lose their three top attackers in the same transfer window. Therefore, Lyon would have to receive a stunning offer to even consider letting Dembele leave.
Per reports, Manchester United would have to spend £40m to sign the French striker. But based on his numbers and his huge potential, he could be worth every single penny. United shouldn’t waste time and try to move for Dembele as soon as the chance arises.