Manchester United and Arsenal will both reportedly have scouts in attendance when Lyon take on Porto in the Europa League last 16 on Thursday evening.
The Premier League duo have been linked with Lyon frontman Moussa Dembele for some time and it appears they are ready to step up their bid to sign him by having the 25-year-old watched in the decisive second leg in France.
Lyon and Porto are locked at 1-1 from their first outing in Portugal, with a place in the last eight up for grabs. And according to Foot Mercato, United, along with the Gunners, will be keeping a close watch.
The report adds that the Red Devils have also had scouts in a game against Lorient this season. They also watched Lyon’s first outing against Porto in Europe.
Dembele’s current contract expires in 2023. That means this summer will be Lyon’s last chance to receive a significant fee for the player.
Foot Mercato adds that United have Dembele on their list of players to rebuild their attack next season.
Edinson Cavani is certain to move, while Cristiano Ronaldo will do likewise if United fail to qualify for the Champions League. Anthony Martial wants to turn his current loan into a permanent exit, while there have also been rumours that Marcus Rashford wants out – not to mention Mason Greenwood’s current off-field issues.
Gunners facing striker shortage
As for Arsenal’s interest, they have several players out of contract this summer. Despite, an impressive run of form that sees them sitting fourth in the table, the Gunners could see Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketich leave at the end of the season, having already allowed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s exit in January.
Manchester United offer Manuel Akanji double his Borussia Dortmund wages
Manchester United have offered Manuel Akanji double his current Borussia Dortmund wages to sign him this summer
Dembele has scored 10 times in 23 appearances for Lyon this season. Overall he has a record of 125 goals in 296 career appearances, including more than 50 for Celtic.
He did actually begin his pro career with Fulham after arriving as a 16-year-old from PSG. However, he failed to score a Premier League goal and eventually joined Celtic after bagging 17 times in the Championship.
Neville stunned at big Man Utd transfer miss
Meanwhile, Gary Neville has revealed his shock that Manchester United were never in the running to sign ‘unbelievable’ Liverpool winger Luis Diaz in the January transfer window.
The Colombian has been hugely impressive since swapping Porto for a move to Anfield in an initial £37million deal at the turn of the year, having turned down the opportunity to move to Tottenham.
Spurs looked like they’d sealed the transfer until the Reds stepped on the gas and beat them to the punch.
The 25-year-old has already scored twice in the Premier League. He was also the star man as Liverpool lifted the Carabao Cup at Wembley.
And Neville has explained why he was shocked United were never in for the forward.
He told the Gary Neville Podcast: “It’s unbelievable. Diaz was going to Tottenham, he’s then gone to Liverpool. There’s not even been a mention of him going to Manchester United.
“United are going to lose Cavani, at the end of the season. They are probably going to lose Pogba. They’ve lost Greenwood, Martial has gone to Sevilla probably going at the end of the season.
“You think they are going to need two or three at the end of the season. Then you watch that lad and he’s not had his best game tonight [against Arsenal], but what a player he is. Tough, aggressive, works hard, creates chances, his work rate when they lose the ball is unbelievable, he sprints back.”
Diaz is likely to be handed another start when Liverpool face Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup on Sunday.