Lyon confirm Dembele closing in on transfer to Atletico Madrid

The former Celtic and Fulham forward has told his current side that he wants a new challenge

Lyon have confirmed they are in talks with Atletico Madrid over the sale of Moussa Dembele to the Liga leaders.

Atletico are seeking a replacement for Diego Costa, who had his contract terminated by mutual consent last month.

With Diego Simeone’s side fighting for honours on a number of fronts, the coach has spoken of the need to secure support for Luis Suarez in attack.

It would appear as if he has settled on the former Fulham and Celtic forward – who has also been linked with West Ham – to fill Costa’s boots.

Following Lyon’s 2-2 draw at Rennes on Saturday, sporting director Juninho confirmed the talks were taking place.

“Moussa came to see me, he thinks that this is the moment to change teams, that he has lost a bit of motivation,” Lyon sporting director Juninho told Telefoot. “This was not something we foresaw, I like him a lot.

“Keeping someone who does not really want to keep up the intensity through the next five months, that is not ideal.

“We are in talks with Atletico, I think that Moussa has found an agreement with Atletico.”

It is clear that Atletico need reinforcements, as they are in a position of strength in The League and would not want to squander it.

They are one point clear of defending champions Real Madrid at the top of the table, but following the postponement of their game against Athletic Club on Saturday they have played three games fewer than their title rivals.

Lyon will now look to bring in a replacement for Dembele, as they are locked in a title battle in League 1, leading Paris Saint Germain and Little by a point after 19 games.

Juninho said that out-of-favour Leicester City forward Islam Slimani could be brought in, after the club nearly signed the Algerian over the summer.

“Slimani is a player we appreciate a lot, but he’s one of a few possibilities,” he said. “Halfway through the season, it’s not always easy to find a striker to play for six months or a year and a half. It is expensive.

“We are looking at other players. We spoke with [Slimani] at the start of the season, we had almost reached an agreement. He wants to come and wear our jersey.”