Pep Guardiola has already delivered his verdict on Manchester United target Moussa Dembele

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has previously described Manchester United target Moussa Dembele as ‘exceptional’.

As reported by the Manchester Evening News on Friday, United have made initial enquiries into signing the Frenchman this coming summer. United, amongst other objectives, are set to prioritise the signing of a striker in the upcoming transfer window as they look to give their frontline a fresh look.

It comes after interim manager Ralf Rangnick, who oversaw a 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday evening, advised the club they should look to bring in a younger striker. Cristiano Ronaldo, who is 37, and Edinson Cavani, who turned 35 last month, are both entering the latter stages of their respective careers and United will soon be in need of some fresh energy.

READ MORE: Ralf Rangnick explains why Fred gave one of his best performances for Manchester United vs Tottenham

Dembele, formerly of Fulham and Celtic, is one of several players that United are keeping a watchful eye on, but they are firmly interested in his signature. However, he would likely be considered as a squad player at Old Trafford instead of being a regular starter.

He joined Lyon in 2018 from Celtic and has since scored 54 goals in 130 appearances in all competitions, including nine in 22 matches this season. Whilst his record this term has not been blistering, he is a hugely talented player and was lavished with praise by City chief Guardiola back in 2016.

The Catalan hailed Dembele’s qualities ahead of a Champions League clash between City and Celtic. He had scored twice against City in a 3-3 draw in September and had caught the Blues boss’ eye ahead of the second group stage meeting between the two clubs.

“If you read the newspapers in the last six months since I became coach of Manchester City, maybe I’ve been in contact with 126 players to buy for Manchester City, so Dembele is another one,” said Guardiola, speaking back in December 2016.

“So every week I contact for the next season maybe 10 players, Alexis [Sanchez] was the last one. For his qualities though, he is an exceptional player.”

During the 2016/17 season, when Guardiola hailed his talents, Dembele scored 32 goals in 49 appearances in all competitions for Celtic. The following season he added another 16 goals to his tally and that was enough to convince Lyon to sign him for roughly £20million.

Turning 26 in July, the Frenchman has since had a loan spell at Atletico Madrid. However, his time in the Spanish capital last season saw him fail to live up to expectations, with no goals scored in seven appearances.

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