Manchester United’s transfer priorities face being stretched this summer. If a blockbuster move for Jadon Sancho goes ahead, then the current financial climate suggests there may not be much left over for other additions.
One of these priority areas is a striker, with the club needing to add a long term option, as well as, or instead of Odion Ighalo.
Two top quality options play their football in France, and would have required extremely high fees to land them.
Lyon were asking for as much as £83 million for striker Moussa Dembele, Sky Sports reported last month, while Le10Sport claimed Lille were targeting £91 million (100m Euros) for Nigerian centre-forward Victor Osimhen.
These fees are excessive, and show the largess of a bloated market. But after Lille managed to land £72 million for Nicolas Pepe last summer, it is understandable they would seek out a high fee.
The scenario French sides did not see coming was the decision from the country’s government to cancel the 2019/20 season, with football banned until September.
This decision, says Lyon chairman Jean-Michael Aulas, will cost French clubs 700 million Euros in television money, L’Equipe reported.
He said: “The decisions that have been taken can push French football into a catastrophic situation.”
This is why there has been such a determination within the English game to commit to ‘Project Restart’ and continue the campaign.
This financial dilemma for French sides may be solved with the form of a loan, or a concession from television companies, but is more likely to lead to a mass sell off of top talent. This gives United an opportunity,
Lille were in fourth, requiring entry to the Champions League through the qualifiers, and Lyon seventh.
Both Dembele and Osimhen could become available at far cheaper prices that the amount their clubs wanted.
No team will stretch to their demands. This provides an opportunity for Manchester United to secure one of them for a more reasonable, market-resetting price.
£50 million for either would be fair, based on ability, potential, and the fact it would still give either Lyon or Lille a big profit on the fee they paid, but it could end up even cheaper.
Both players fit the mould of players United should be looking to add as a long-term striker option.
Dembele, 23, has scored 22 goals this past season already for Lyon, while Osimhen, 21, managed to score 18 goals in all competitions for Lille.
A recent statistical study published in The Times labelled Osimhen as the nearest player to Harry Kane in terms of profile, attributes and quality.
Add either player in with an attack of Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, and even Jadon Sancho, and United’s attack could really flourish.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said in April that the impact of the crisis will allow United to be opportunistic in the market. [SkySports]
A move for a top, supposedly long-term target, like Osimhen or Dembele for a bargain fee would be exactly the type of transfers the United boss is talking about.
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