Man Utd ‘step up scouting mission’ with staff ‘concerned’ by transfer plans


With question marks over the future of some of their current forwards, Manchester United are set to turn their attention to another long-term target with a fresh look

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Manchester United are sending scouts to look at Moussa Dembele, with the French striker reportedly back on their radar after a 2020 move to Old Trafford failed to materialise.

The Fulham academy graduate impressed during Lyon’s run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2020, scoring twice in a shock victory over Manchester City along the way. However, a loan move to Atletico Madrid in January 2021 ended without him finding the net and he is now back in France.

Dembele has rediscovered his scoring touch, though, hitting double-figures in Ligue 1 despite Lyon’s struggles. And, according to reports from France, United will have scouts at the Stade de Lyon on Thursday night as Peter Bosz’s side host Porto in a week where Marcus Rashford has become the latest United forward linked with an exit..

As reported by Foot Mercato (via Sport Witness ), Man Utd scouts have already looked at Dembele on two separate occasions. They were in Portugal for the first leg of the Europa League last 16 clash, with Lucas Paqueta giving Lyon a narrow advantage, and in Lorient to watch Dembele net in a 4-1 Ligue 1 win.

The goal against Lorient was the ninth of the campaign for Dembele, who is still just 25 years old. He went on to score number 10 from the penalty spot against Rennes over the weekend, but it wasn’t enough to keep Lyon from falling to a 4-2 home defeat.

Bosz’s team ended the weekend in mid-table after the defeat, and Lyon’s slim hopes of European football next season could prompt them to cash in on a player whose contract expires in 2023. And United’s interest is perhaps understandable when considering the uncertain futures of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani and concerns over the club’s summer plans.

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Dembele is Lyon’s top league scorer this season
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

Club staff are believed to be worried about the upcoming business, with certain decisions being left until a permanent successor to Ralf Rangnick is appointed. Concerns about an ability to plan for the longer-term have been exacerbated by United’s Champions League elimination at the hands of Atletico Madrid, with qualification for next season’s tournament up in the air.

Cavani and Paul Pogba are expected to move on in the summer, when both will be out of contract, while potential departures for Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial on top of Cavani could leave United particularly light going forward. However, Ronaldo’s future could also lie elsewhere if Rangnick’s side are unable to clinch the top-four finish they need to remain at Europe’s top table.

A move for Dembele could help ease some concerns, though, with the French Under-21 international’s relative affordability only part of the benefit. Having moved to Fulham at the age of 16 and come through the London side’s youth system before leaving for Celtic in 2016, he would qualify as a homegrown player, and Foot Mercato’s report suggests United aren’t the only English club keeping tabs on the striker.

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