Manchester United are alleged to have agreed a deal with Lyon and Moussa Dembele for a €70m (£61.9m) deal that would see the French striker move to Old Trafford in time for 2020/21.
A striker is an important part of the club’s ongoing rebuilding plan, with injuries to Antony Martial and Marcus Rashford this season highlighting a lack of depth in attacking areas.
The possibility that loan signing Odion Ighalo may not return to the club - if United cannot work out a reported impasse in negotiations with Shanghai Shenhua - has only served to underline that bringing in another forward is critical sooner rather than later.
A report from TodoFichajes.com that may prove to be premature or misguided in its bold assertions claims that a deal for Dembele has been struck.
It is now alleged that both clubs and Dembele’s camp have agreed to the supposed €70m switch, which TodoFichajes.com has ‘surprised’ Premier League rivals Chelsea because of the size of the fee.
Such a vast fee in these troubled times might be where the story falls down. While United do need another striker, the club is primarily targeting English trio Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish and Jude Bellingham ahead of next season, which already promises to reach upwards of £160m.
United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward recently warned that no club will be completely immune from the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis, even one as wealthy as his own.
“It feels somewhat inappropriate to see speculation about transfers for hundreds of millions in current circumstances,” Woodward commented.
“There’s a big disconnect between those stories and the economic realities facing football clubs in general. Clearly, it’s true we are fortunate to be in a strong financial position compared to many clubs, but we are not immune from the financial impact of what this virus is doing.
“I would say that once we have that visibility of a path through the crisis and coming out of the other side to relative normality, then of course, we aim to remain highly competitive in the market.”