Olympique Lyonnais president Jean-Michel Aulas has ruled out a winter transfer for the club’s top scorer Moussa Dembélé, saying the 11-goal striker is “a player we need”.

Dembélé has enjoyed a superlative second season at the Groupama Stadium, with his 11 goals in Ligue 1 Conforama complemented by another three in competitions to take his tally to 14, which have come in at a rate of one every 122 minutes he has played.

All-round player 

The former Celtic and France U21 attacker’s hold up play and ability to link up with teammates has also piqued the interest of some of Europe’s biggest clubs, but with fellow final-third operators Memphis Depay and Jeff Reine-Adélaïde on the long-term in jury list, Aulas has no intention of letting Dembélé go.

Watch: Dembélé was on target again as Lyon beat Girondins de Bordeaux 2-1 last Saturday

“We haven’t changed our minds,” he told French radio network RMC. “We already said this in August. Moussa’s an excellent player and a player we need. We’re being careful in this winter transfer window not to sign a player who would compete with him for his role. It’s not a question of money. Moussa will stay with us.

Better to come?

OL have won four of their last five games in all competitions, drawing the other, and are currently in eighth, three points behind FC Nantes who occupy the final European place but with a +11 better goal difference. Aulas expects another successful season for the seven-time French champions.

“We’re still in every competition [Ligue 1 Conforama, Coupe de la Ligue, Coupe de France and UEFA Champions League],” he said. “We absolutely want to finish in the top three this season. To do that, we must keep as many players as possible and also recruit.”

Les Gones are next in action on against FC Nantes and LOSC in the two cups on Saturday and Tuesday respectively, before returning to league duty at home to Toulouse FC a week on Sunday.

 

>> PLAYER PROFILE: Moussa Dembélé

>> CLUB PROFILE: OLympique Lyonnais