Fulham failed in a shock move for their ex-star Moussa Dembele before he joined Atletico Madrid last week, Football Insider can reveal.
Fulham are in the market for a new striker this month to boost their Premier League survival chances.
A recruitment source has told Football Insider the Londoners contacted Lyon about bringing the striker back to Craven Cottage.
But they could not compete with the offer on the table from Atletico.
The Spanish club have bought Dembele on a loan-to-buy deal in which he will cost £30m rising to a potential £34.5million.
The 24-year-old began his professional career with the London club after moving from Paris Saint-Germain when he was 16.
He made his debut as an 18-year-old and went on to score 19 goals and provide nine assists in 64 games for the Cottagers.
Scottish giants Celtic then swooped for the striker in 2018 after his contract expired with Fulham.
Dembele earned himself hero status in Glasgow as he scored 51 goals in just 94 appearances across all competitions for the Hoops.
In his two full seasons at the club, he helped the Bhoys to successive domestic trebles where they won the Scottish Premiership, the Scottish Cup and the Scottish League Cup.
In 2018, the Frenchman moved back to France and signed for Lyon for around a £20million fee.
The former France Under-21 international scored 20 goals across all competitions in his first season with the club and followed up with 24 goals last term.
However, during this campaign, Dembele found the net just once in 16 games before completing his switch to Atletico.
He arrived at the Wanda Metropolitano after Diego Costa’s contract with the Spanish giants was cancelled.