The Belgian striker-turned-playmaker is regarded as a cut-price option by Premier League big guns ahead of summer scramble for his signature, with the Londoners willing to cash in
By Wayne Veysey
The attacker is being closely watched by all the Premier League big guns as the stampede for his signature increases.
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Goal.com revealed in March that Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham were closely monitoring the 24-year-old.
And the Belgium international’s instrumental role in Fulham’s climb to ninth in the Premier League has now also alerted the three English clubs with the biggest wage bills.
Dembele is rated at £12-£15 million (€15-18m) by Fulham, where he has matured this season into one of the most accomplished playmakers in the Premier League.
However, Dembele will have only a year left on his contract come the end of the current season and the bidding for his services is likely to start at below the £10m (€12.5m) mark.
Fulham are keen to agree new terms with the player, who joined from Dutch club AZ Alkmaar for £5m (€6.2m) in the summer of 2010.
But the west Londoners, whose highest paid player is goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, know they cannot compete in terms of wages or status with the richest Premier League clubs, and accept they will struggle to hold on to the Belgian were he to receive an attractive offer in the summer.
Dembele is considered by Fulham to be one of their two prize assets along with Clint Dempsey, whose future is also shrouded in doubt with a year remaining on his contract. The club are more likely to cash in on the Belgian because of his greater market value than his free-scoring 29-year-old sidekick.
He has scored only seven goals in 71 appearances for Fulham, including just two goals this season although regular observers believe he could be even more effective playing with higher quality players.