Celtic may have to wait on Moussa Dembélé dividends, with both he and Atlético struggling

By Euan Davidson

April 6, 2021

For former Celtic striker Moussa Dembélé, the dream move to Atlético Madrid hasn’t worked out so far.

In a couple of short months, he’s had health maladies aplenty, not least of which was a badly-timed Covid-19 diagnosis. As if there’s ever a fortunate time to get Covid, but right after joining an elite club? It’s very bad luck.

However, as Atlético huff and puff towards the finish line, the ex-Celtic man is barely seeing the pitch. So far, he’s managed just 87 minutes over 4 games [WhoScored?]. Curiously, these staggered minutes have come at a time when the Rojiblancos need real fire-power. In their last six, they’ve won just 2, while also drawing and losing 2 apiece. In those six matches, Simeone’s side have managed just four goals [WhoScored?].

What seemed like a comfortable lead at the top of La Liga has been cut to one point [Sky Sports]. Damagingly, they’re out of the Champions League, too, having fallen to Chelsea. Real questions will be asked of Simeone’s recruitment if the Rojiblancos fail to win the league title. Unfortunately, the loan deal bringing Moussa Dembélé from Lyon will be top of the list.

Already, Atlético are supposedly measuring up replacements. 28-year-old goalscoring sensation Gerardo Martino is being lined up, according to Football-Espana. The outlet goes on:

“This campaign, only Lionel Messi (23) has scored more goals in La Liga than the 28-year-old, who has his 19 goals in the league and 23 across all competitions for [Villarreal] this season.”

Celtic may have to wait for further dividends from Moussa / (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Celtic might have to wait for Moussa Dembélé sale to reap further dividends

The season Moussa Dembélé has had has been a real shame. After Lyon shifted the likely-outgoing Memphis Depay to centre-forward, the ex-Celtic striker was rather unjustly shunted to the bench. In a rare act of showing their hand to top clubs in Europe, Lyon attempted to make the most of the Dutchman’s versatility ahead of potentially losing him for free this summer.

It’s strange, and it certainly doesn’t help Moussa. Perhaps Lyon are aiming to keep the Frenchman sharp elsewhere while they try to sort a new contract for Memphis. However, that doesn’t seem entirely likely, given that a permanent fee was on the table when Atlético signed the former Bhoys’ marksman.

It’s just a very odd situation overall. Not so long ago, Dembélé was tearing up Ligue 1. Celtic have a sell-on fee attached to Moussa, and so there was hope that his subsequent Lyon departure would help to bankroll part of a squad rebuild this summer.

That, now, doesn’t look entirely likely.

Still, he’s too entertaining and talented a player to keep down for too long.

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