According to ESPN FC, scouts from Arsenal, Manchester United, Southampton, and Atletico Madrid were present for Celtic’s 2-0 Champions League loss to Barcelona Wednesday to watch exciting young forward Moussa Dembele.
ESPN FC claims that Arsenal and Manchester United are both long-term admirers and have watched him on a number of occasions this year. Southampton and Celtic have previously done business with both Virgil van Dijk and Victor Wanyama making the move from the Scottish Premier League to the English Premier League by way of Southampton. The Saints hope their previous business relations will give them an advantage against other clubs in negotiations.
Dembele joined Celtic from Fulham this past summer, despite interest from a number of Premier League clubs. Arsenal and Manchester United were believed to be among those clubs vying for his signature this past summer. Obviously, they’ve continued their interest and remain long-term suitors.
Dembele has scored 16 goals in 26 appearances in all competitions this season. That includes three Champions League goals in five matches. He’s also made four appearances for France Under-21’s, netting four goals, including two against England in early November.
The 20-year old is a product of the PSG youth system. He moved to Fulham at the age of 17 after rejecting professional terms with the Parisian club. Dembele believed his first team opportunities would be limited at PSG and his development would best be served elsewhere. That decision has begun to pay off with a few of Europe’s big guns beginning to circle again.
Celtic plans to ward off bids for Dembele this January but there are already reports that Liverpool plans a huge bid for Dembele in the coming months. Celtic’s resolve will soon be tested, if not this winter, then during the summer.