Premier League club Chelsea have reportedly re-open discussions with Lyon over the possible signing of French striker Moussa Dembele for £45m after missing out on Paris Saint-Germain star Edison Cavani. Dembele has scored 13 goals in 28 appearances for the Ligue 1 side this season.
Chelsea are in dire need of a striker and are desperate to sign one following the knee injury to striker Tammy Abraham late on in Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal has accelerated the move for Cavani. The England hitman limped through the end of the game at Stamford Bridge after crashing into the advertising hoardings and hurting his ankle. Michy Batshuayi is yet to really impress, while Olivier Giroud is expected to leave and join Inter before the transfer window closes.
Frank Lampard’s side had made an offer to sign Cavani on loan until the end of the season. The Blues are ready to pay Cavani’s £360,000 a week wages and pay the Ligue 1 champions at least £5m to allow the forward to depart this month. Chelsea’s offer would cost the club in excess of £12m until the end of the season, at which point the veteran would become a free agent.
However, according to The Sun, Cavani is expected to snub Stamford Bridge, favouring a move to Atletico Madrid instead, Chelsea have set their sights on Dembele. Ultimately, this transfer will come down to whether Chelsea are willing to meet Lyon’s valuation of Dembele. Given a transfer embargo meant the Blues were unable to sign any players over the off-season, they should be more than happy to pay slightly over the odds.
Dembele scored 23 goals in 52 games for Lyon last season and has been in superb form this season prompting Manchester United and Chelsea to want to take him to Premier League this month. And according to Foot Mercato, Chelsea have made the first move for the 23-year-old.
Though Lyon would be making a sizeable profit on the man they bought for €22m in August 2018, injuries to forward pair Memphis Depay and Jeff Reine-Adelaide will make it difficult to prise him away from Groupama Stadium this month.
Nevertheless, it’s claimed the Blues are set to return with an improved offer, and may look to include out-of-favour striker Olivier Giroud, which would certainly make the deal more intriguing from Lyon’s perspective.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas had insisted that Dembele will not be allowed to leave this month. Aulas, who is regarded as one football’s toughest negotiators has again insisted that Dembele will not be sold in January.
He said: “We have not changed our minds. We already made this issue clear in August,” said Aulas on Tuesday evening when asked about Dembele.
“Moussa is an excellent player. A player who we need. ‘We are taking explicit measures in our recruitment to not bring someone in who will compete for his position. It is not a question of money. Moussa will be with us.”