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Lyon striker would find it hard to turn down a move to Manchester United – reports

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solakjaer is reportedly lining up a transfer bid for France and Lyon striker Moussa Dembele, according to reports. The United manager will be seeking to improve his forward line, also stacking up on options after losing both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, at times, to injury during the 2019/20 season.

Dembele has made a total of 42 appearances for this club this season, before the coronavirus pandemic halted world football, subsequently cancelling the season in France with all sporting events being cancelled by the Government until later in the year. He has scored 22 goals in all competitions, also assisting seven further goals.

These are the sort of figures that Solskjaer would expect to see from a striker in his team. It would take some pressure off Martial and Rashford, also allow the likes of Mason Greenwood to grow in the team ready for what is expected to be a brilliant future for the player. Coming through the academy at Fulham, Dembele would be classed as home grown.

In the past, both Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea have held an interest in the French striker – neither club making a solid move for him, despite playing for Fulham already in his career. United are reportedly interested in quickly moving for the player because of the coronavirus pandemic with clubs around Europe likely to struggle financially.

United have suggested that their healthy finances could help them in the upcoming transfer window with Solskjaer seeking to sign players to help him complete his team ready for a new challenge. With French football being ended until at least September, Dembele, with English football likely to continue this season, would have more certainty.

Lyon finished the French season in seventh place, missing out on European football next season, which is something that United could find would be somewhat certain, even if the season does finish now for the Premier League teams, unless a different approach at ending the season was found. United are seemingly guaranteed UEFA Europa League football next season, although with Manchester City banned, UEFA Champions League football could be possible.

United signed Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua during the January transfer window, on a six-month loan spell. The 30-year-old Nigerian striker was said to be a top target for the summer, but a £400,000 a week contract extension from the Chinese club could cause problems as United would not be able to offer him anything similar.

The fact the coronavirus pandemic as happened, meaning United’s financial clout could get them what they want, could be a good thing for English football and United in particular. Dembele is one of the best rising stars in world football and could lead the line for United for the best part of a decade if he does move to the Old Trafford club.

United being in the Champions League next season would be a great bargaining position for United to lure Dembele to the Old Trafford club next season, so the resumption of the Premier League season would be a good thing for United, who finished in fifth place, three points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea after the season was suspended in March.

Manchester United and Arsenal interested in £40 million French striker this summer – reports

Manchester United and Premier League rivals Arsenal are reportedly going to be locked in an ‘intense’ scramble for AS Monaco striker Wissam Ben Yedder according to reports. Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur will make it a five team Premier League battle with Real Madrid also suggested amongst the players suitors.

The 29-year-old France international was linked to United in the summer following the departure of Romelu Lukaku, who left the Old Trafford club for Inter Milan, but nothing materialised for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side with the club instead waiting until the January transfer window to sign Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo on a six-month loan instead.

The striker matches his 18-goal haul from the 2018/19 season in just 28 Ligue 1 matches this season, scoring another goal in the Coupe de France, making it 19 goals this season. Now that the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 seasons have been prematurely ended, that will be the strikers haul this season, also assisting nine goals in all competitions.

French news source, L’Equipe has reported that a £40 million fee should be something that the principality club manager to get for the striker this summer, whenever the transfer window opens after the Coronavirus pandemic stopped world football with some leagues ending their seasons and other still having plans to play them out.

United manager Solskjaer will be seeking to sign a new striker this summer and personally I would prefer the club to secure a long-term deal for Ighalo, who has done well since joining in January, scoring four goals and one assist in eight appearances in the Premier League, Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta may need to find a replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this summer with the Gabon international linked with a departure from the North London club – who will be out of contract in 12 months time. Liverpool also seem interested but Timo Werner may be the striker for Jurgen Klopp, if a deal can be agreed.

Monaco signed Ben Yedder in the summer of 2019 after paying his €40 release clause from Spanish side Sevilla and are likely to not let him leave the club on the cheap. The Frenchman has scored 19 goals and nine assists in 31 appearances for Monaco, also scoring 70 goals and 22 assist in 138 appearances for Sevilla, and 71 goals and 22 assists for Toulouse.

“Barcelona could have happened much earlier for me.

“Last summer they made contacts for me, they collected a lot of information about me and the same was true this winter, but the move did not happen.

“It shows I am doing a good job, but despite this interest I am totally focused on my performances with Monaco.”

Ben Yedder was also linked to Barcelona last summer with the above quote form the player when he spoke to Onze Mundial. It just goes to show the varied interest in the player from a number of clubs in England and Spain, which could once again come to fruition this summer, as soon as the transfer window opens. Whether United are interested remains to be seen though.

Liverpool join Manchester United in pursuit of talented 21-year-old French defensive midfielder – reports

Manchester United have reportedly been joined by Premier League rivals Liverpool in a £50 million chase for French defensive midfielder Boubakary Soumare. The 21-year-old Frenchman has been linked to United before and will probably continue to be linked to the club who will be seeking to find a replacement for Nemanja Matic.

Both United and Liverpool could do with some reinforcement in the midfield this summer, at least defensively as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side looks to cut Liverpool’s lead over the fallen giants and lead them back to Premier League glory. Jurgen Klopp has seemingly thrown his hat into the ring, so to speak, seeking to get ahead of his rivals.

Soumare has played 30 times already this season and with the fact that Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 in France will not resume this season with all sporting events being cancelled until September, at the earliest because of the Coronavirus pandemic, that will be where his stats end. He has not scored a goal but has a solitary assist to his name.

The 21-year-old made his debut in Lille’s first team in 2017, closing up 51 appearances to date, which possibly shows the abilities of the player, which is something that United, Liverpool and any other potential suitor will be seeking to get a hand on their rivals ahead of the new season, whenever that may start.

Soumare has also been linked to Real Madrid with head coach, Zinedine Zidane keeping an eye on the player, whether the club are seeking to make solid their interest remains to be seen. United are being linked once again with the turbulent future of Paul Pogba, who seemingly wants to find a challenge elsewhere, although it may not happen for him.

It was reported that Soumare was offered a chance to play in the Premier League back in January with Newcastle United interested in the player, although he seemingly rejected the move. With the takeover of the club hotting up, they may return in the summer and beyond with an offer, possibly luring the player – who knows?

Soumare is a promising box-to-box midfielder who has been compared to Pogba, due to the physical nature of his play, not to mention his technical ability. He was part of Paris Saint-Germain’s academy, playing in the youth levels from 2011 until 2017 and seeking a move to Lille to be given a first team opportunity, which he has found.

The 21-year-old has been capped by France at every youth level from U16 to U21, playing a total of 39 times across the six age ranges. With United’s interest in the summer, it was clear they were looking at a number of options, possibly in view of Pogba’s departure, which never actually happened. Perhaps it will, sooner to later?

Now that United have looking into the creative problems at the club, signing Bruno Fernandes from Sporting CP in January and adding Shanghai Shenhua striker Odion Ighalo on a six-month loan deal, Pogba may feel settled at United again. Reports did suggest that he may sign a new contract, which has not come forth as yet.

Lyon ‘name price’ for Moussa Dembele whilst the player is ‘determined’ to seal Manchester United transfer

Lyon forward Moussa Dembele has been the focus of a lot of attention for a while now and his club issued a hands off warning last month with interest resurfacing during the January transfer window. However, the club seem resigned to losing the player in the summer as long as their valuation of the player is met.

According to reports in the media, Lyon have slapped an £83 million price tag on their asset ahead of the summer transfer window. Manchester United and Chelsea both hold an interest in the player with Dembele being linked to United last summer as they sold Romelu Lukaku and with Chelsea seeking strengthening this coming summer.

Jean-Michel Aulas, the president of Lyon, spoke last week about the players the club has and that they will sell the players who want to leave to where they want to go, which sounds positive leaving the ball in the court of both United and Chelsea to convince the player to sign for them. Aulas said:

“We already have a certain number of offers for our players for summer. We sell the players who want to leave to where they want to go.”

It has been suggested that Chelsea had made an approach to sign Dembele during the January transfer window, although this has not been confirmed, rumours suggest that they were only prepared to offer £40 million for the Frenchman, which is clearly not enough to purchase him after this information about his price tag. Dembele recently said:

“I am a Lyon player and I will remain so until the end of the season.”

Manchester City, Newcastle United and West Ham United also seem interested in signing the 23-year-old this summer, although I am sure he would prefer to sign for United, City or Chelsea as opposed to the other two teams, one of which is currently in a relegation battle to remain in the Premier League. United is reportedly his preferred option.

United would need to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season, which would usually need them to finish in the top four of the Premier League, however, with City banned from the competition for two seasons, despite a pending appeal, finishing fifth would achieve that, as would winning the UEFA Europa League.

However, I am sure United would be seeking to finish inside the top four with them just three points adrift of Chelsea with 11 matches in the league still to be played this season, giving them the chance to break ahead of Frank Lampard’s side, who they have beaten three times this season; twice in the league and once in the Carabao Cup.

Dembele will be very familiar with England as he started his career at Fulham, leaving for Celtic then to Lyon. During this time, he has become a very good forward and one that many clubs could yet find interest in. Tottenham Hotspur will be in the market for a striker this summer after failing to sign one in January to cover Harry Kane’s injury.

This season, in 38 matches for Lyon, Dembele has scored 20 goals, assisted a further seven in 2,974 minutes of football. Whilst at Lyon, he has made a total of 84 appearances, scoring 40 goals and 13 assists. Whilst at Celtic, he made a total of 94 appearances, scoring 51 goals and 18 assists. At Fulham, in a first team environment, he made a total of 64 appearances, scoring 19 goals and nine assists.

Boubakary Soumare reportedly torn between Manchester United and Chelsea; is he what United needs?

Manchester United have been linked to a whole host of footballers since the summer; many have no chance of becoming true but others seem to have something to them with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer taking a different stance when it come to the rebuild of the Old Trafford club. Boubakary Soumare of Lille is a player who was linked to the club last week, after being linked at the tail end of 2019.

The 20-year-old is reportedly due to decide between United and Chelseabefore the end of the month. Lille will face Paris Saint-Germain on the 26 January and nothing will be decided before that match. It almost sounds the same as Bruno Fernandes and the fact he was going to play for Benfica before leaving Sporting CP, which again turned into nothing – as it did in the summer. Rumours following the same script, maybe?

Arsenal were said to be interested in the player but last week they removed themselves from contention and both Real Madrid and Valencia followed suit. Soumare played against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League this season, seeing Lille lose 2-1 to the London club. He is a box-to-box midfielder and has been likened to Paul Pogba, a player who himself is linked with an exit from United, however not in this transfer window.

Soumare, 20 has key attributes which include ball recovery, winning possession and his general distribution. Based on that, before even thinking about United’s thin midfield offering this season, he would seem to be a player, based on his attributes, that would fit into this team and help raise the club’s game massively. United have so few options in the midfield, which will be the same for at least a month.

This season, Soumare has played in a total of 25 matches for Lille, playing in Ligue 1, the Champions League and the Coupe de la Ligue. The Frenchman has one assist to his name this season, playing 1,748 minutes of football. When he’s compared to Pogba, it is in a much different way as the French World Cup winner can create and score goals, whereas Soumare, at this time, is not offering that.

Soumare has played 64 times in his career so far at first team level, scoring one goal in total, one assist playing 3,525 minutes of football in total. He may not be the big name that some crave – which is also a direction that has not worked all that well in the past but in saying that, United could have a player similar to Soumare in the club’s academy; James Garner and Dylan Levitt, for instance.

If Soumare was a valid option for United, his passing accuracy, currently 89.1%, could help with United lack of creativity and work well with the pace available at the club. However, with creativity also lacking at the club, just bringing in Soumare would not solve the major issues that United are suffering from at this moment in time. If he was part of two or three transfers this month, it might be worthwhile.

However, the possibility of two or three players coming to the club this month seems to be slim. United have not yet been able to secure the signing of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting, despite speculation being rife over the past two weeks. If Ed Woodward cannot sign a player the club needs, despite that player being available, how could he sign a player that would need convincing to join the ailing club?

The main thing is that United is a club that has not been invested in by the owners and with the debt the club is currently in and the fact that star players, such as Pogba, seem unhappy, it could spell bad times heading to the club. Of course, it all gets worse before it gets better but the depths United have plunged since Sir Alex Ferguson retired more than six years ago may not be anything yet.

copyright: JW