October 18, 2019
Manchester United are reportedly planning to sign Lyon striker Moussa Dembele in January as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to rebuild his forward line, which has struggled with injury and an inability to bag the goals for the club. Marcus Rashford has failed to shine for the club in the striker’s role since Anthony Martial was injured.
During the summer transfer window, Romelu Lukaku was sold to Inter Milan and Alexis Sanchez was loaned to the club before the end of the summer. It was a gamble by Solskjaer, but instead of replacing the duo, he switched Martial from the left flank and made him the striker. Rashford and the Frenchman rotated in the position.
Daniel James, a £15 million signing from Swansea City in the summer, replaced the Frenchman on the left flank, so far scoring three goals – the clubs join top scorer this season, along with Rashford. Martial was injured in the third match of the season, the 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, missing the last eight matches.
United has struggled in each match, winning three matches (one on penalties), drawing three times and losing twice. It is clear that Solskjaer needs another striker in order to give the attack some different options as it is just not working out at this moment in time. This is just one of the many positions that need strengthening in January or the summer.
United have already been linked with Juventus striker, Mario Mandzukic, who is 33 at nearing the end of his career. The Croatian clearly does not fit United’s target of lowering the age of the squad therefore would not fit in the rebuild other than being considered as a panic buy. It also seems that the player may stay in Italy with AC Milan an option.
United has seemingly switched their attention to Dembele, after being linked with the player in the summer as a replacement for Lukaku but nothing ever seemed to develop in the situation. However, it is clear that something will need to develop in January in a bid to save the season, of which Solskjaer has been put under pressure by ‘fans’ and the media.
The former Celtic striker has made 10 appearances for Lyon this season, scoring six goals, which is a better return that any United player has achieved, although Martial may have done better if he was fit to play in the last eight matches. The Frenchman started his professional career at Fulham, signing from Paris Saint-Germain in 2012, doing well.
Spending three years in the first team at Fulham, Dembele played 64 times, scoring 19 goals, 17 of which were scored during the 2015/16 season, his final season at the club. He was sold to Celtic in the summer of 2016, playing 94 times and scoring 51 goals in three seasons on the Scottish Premiership before heading to Lyon.
Dembele is clearly a player on the rise and at the age of 23, has so much more to achieve in club football. Whether United can get a deal across the line is something that we will find out in January or beyond, however, it is suggested that the player is ready to leave Lyon, which should get the French club a good return on the £19.7 million spend on the player.