By Editor Wayne Veysey
Moussa Dembele has rejected a contract offer from Fulham to throw his future into doubt ahead of the January window, Football Insider sources understand.
The French striker has been offered a four-year deal by the Championship club to replace his existing agreement, which expires next summer.
But Dembele will not sign and this has alerted the 19-year-old’s admirers from the Premier League, who include Liverpool and Tottenham, and will ignite a January scramble for his services.
Dembele, the namesake and former team-mate of Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele, has scored eight goals this season for 12th-placed Fulham, including five in the team’s last five matches.
The France Under-20 international is regarded as Fulham’s prize asset and possessing similar potential to winger Patrick Roberts, who joined Manchester City in an £11million deal in July.
The Championship club are in a delicate position as they could receive only a paltry compensation fee if he leaves Craven Cottage at the end of the season.
Fulham would only recoup the £300,000 fee they paid for Dembele in 2012 if he moved overseas next summer but, were he to stay in England, they would be entitled to a far higher fee under Premier League rules.
Should the Londoners and the buying club from England not agree a fee, it would be settled by a tribunal, as in the case of Danny Ings when he joined Liverpool last summer after his Burnley contract had expired.
Dembele signed an initial three-year contract when he joined Fulham from Paris Saint-German. The deal was extended by a further 12 months last summer when both parties decided to trigger the option of a 12-month extension.
The centre-forward is now likely to be of serious interest to the Premier League big-hitters in the January window.