Fulham have had several domineering strikers over the past ten years who have provided their supporters with their fair share of goals.
Players from far and wide have represented the Cottagers with Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov scoring 20 Premier League goals over a frantic two year period with the squad whilst Serbian Aleksandar Mitrovic has been equally as impressive since moving to Craven Cottage last year, finding the back of the net on 22 occasions.
The Cottagers’ reliance on bringing in imports from across the world has, however, has come back to haunt this season as they are facing an almost certain relegation to the Championship after achieving promotion via the play-offs in 2018.
Although the source of their problems can be rooted back to their dismal defensive record, an over-reliance on Mitrovic has not helped with their cause at all. In theory, if they had kept one of their most successful youth products in recent years, they may not have found themselves in such a dreadful position.
Moussa Dembele joined the club’s academy at the age of 16 after moving from Paris Saint-Germain in 2012 and made his Premier League debut a year later in a season where they ultimately relegated to the second tier of English football.
Following the departure of a number of high-profile players, the French striker was giving the opportunity to lead the line which he grasped with both hands. In a campaign that saw him score seventeen goals in all competitions, Dembele attracted the attention of Scottish giants Celtic who decided to make their move in 2016.
In a deal that reportedly included a compensatory package for the marksman according to Sky Sports, the Hoops reaped the benefits of the deal almost immediately. In his debut season, Dembele scored a remarkable total of 32 goals in 49 appearances as he fired his side to a domestic treble. A mainstay in Brendan Rodgers’ side, he replicated his goal-scoring ability by adding another 16 to his Celtic tally yet his relationship with his manager had started to strain.
Determined to move back to France, Dembele finally got his wish last August as Olympique Lyonnais swooped for the 22-year-old. His first season back in his native country has seen him find the back of the net on 16 occasions with one particular strike putting him in great stead with the club’s supporters. With a fiercely contested derby between Les Gones and Saint-Etienne locked at 1-1, Dembele popped up to expertly head home a stunning winner at the Stade Geoffrey-Guichard, much to the annoyance of the home faithful.
Although his side were knocked out of the Champions League earlier this month at the hands of Barcelona, they are in a great position to qualify for the competition next season given the fact that they are currently third in France’s top tier. In the form of Bruno Genesio, Dembele has a coach who embraces attacking football and prioritises the development of young talent above all else.
The France Under-21 international could lead the line for years to come yet will only be remembered in the same frame as the likes of Karim Benzema and Alexandre Lacazette if he can somehow contribute to breaking Paris Saint-Germain’s domestic dominance.
While Fulham aren’t exactly strapped for cash right now, losing out on Dembele and all his worth cost them millions.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience