Manchester United are continuing to track Lyon striker Moussa Dembele, ESPN reported earlier this week.
The promising French striker has a strong record in Ligue 1 for Lyon this season, scoring seven times in nine games.
The Mail had reported that Lyon were asking for an astronomical £71 million for Dembele.
For that price, United would expect a truly elite striker. Dembele is not at that level yet.
A big warning for United over Dembele is his lack of goals in the Champions League.
He has no goals in three matches this season, against RB Leipzig, Benfica and Zenit.
It isn’t the first time he has stuttered. Last season he scored just one goal in six Champions League matches. One in nine for Lyon is not the return of a striker supposedly worth £71 million.
Four goals in 10 Champions League group stage games with Celtic improves his record somewhat, but a total of five goals in 19 is average at best.
Compare this to Erling Haaland, who has scored six goals in three games.
Haaland looks like a phenomenon, a player really worth £71 million.
Dembele is an excellent young striker, who may be worth a gamble in the £35 million range.
That’s still around double the price Lyon paid for him, but the French side rarely sell their players cheaply.
Dembele could be a good investment. He is still only 23, and he has scored goals at league level in the Championship as a teenager, in Scotland and in France.
The Premier League is a tougher challenge, and the way he has stuttered in the Champions League highlights that Dembele still has a lot of work to do.
If he can turn it around in Lyon’s three remaining group games, now working under a new manager, perhaps he can still convince United he is worth the money.
At present his record suggests United should not panic into overpaying in January.
We may not be in the Champions League, but we should aspire to sign the best, and for the club to spend the money wisely.
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