Chelsea has interest in one of Lyon’s main men, but they should sign a former Premier League forward from the same French squad instead.
On April 28, Ligue 1 announced it would not be completing its season. This controversial decision leaves Lyon in deep trouble as they fail to qualify for any European competitions next season. This means that the likes of Moussa Dembele, Memphis Depay and Houssem Aouar could be looking to for a move elsewhere in the summer.
It’s no secret that Chelsea are actively looking to sign a striker this summer. Lyon’s Dembele has been linked to the Club ever since Chelsea reportedly attempted to sign the 23-year old in January. He remains one of Chelsea’s transfer targets for the summer, but are they looking at the wrong Lyon forward?
Ever since leaving Manchester United in 2017, Depay has developed into a star at Lyon. He’s become an integral part of the Dutch National Team’s rebuild, as well. The 26-year-old has improved immensely with age, and he still has several good years ahead of him. Despite being restricted to only 18 appearances this season—due to a cruciate ligament injury—Depay has racked up 14 goals and two assists. That includes five goals in as many Champions League games.
Most football fans still judge Depay on his poor performances at United. However, they forget he was only 21 when he made the big money move to Old Trafford. Since moving to France, he has put his United days behind him. The reinvented Depay has scored 43 goals and provided 33 assists in 102 league appearances for Lyon.
Unlike Dembele, Depay is an extremely versatile player—something that Chelsea can really benefit from. He is extremely effective as a striker, providing competition for Tammy. He can also be used as an option on the wing, pushing the likes of Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic to achieve their potential. Interestingly, in 2019 Depay claimed that he would favor a move to Chelsea or Manchester City, if he was to return to the Premier League.
What makes the move for Depay more appealing than Dembele is that Depay will enter the last year of his contract with Lyon next season. This means he can be acquired for a relatively low fee which would allow Chelsea to focus its finances on signing reinforcements in other positions. With the spread of the COVID-19 virus affecting the finances of every sports team, a bargain like Depay should not be ignored if Chelsea are to continue their pursuit of Dembele.
Signing Depay to a five-year contract would keep him at the Club until he is 31, giving the Blues at least four of his best years. While Dembele’s 22 goals this season prove he is a prolific goal scorer in Ligue 1, one can see how a move for Depay would benefit Chelsea. Depay is a finished product whereas Dembele is still young and could take longer to adjust to new surroundings. Depay also has Premier League experience.
This is not meant to imply Depay is the perfect player for Chelsea. The prospect of signing Dembele does not sit right when a player of Depay’s quality is also available for a similar, if not lower price from the same team. Regardless of who Chelsea does sign, there will be several top clubs closely monitoring the situation of both Lyon strikers as they look to take their career to the next level.