Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has reiterated his desire to keep Moussa Dembele at the club, following speculation of an incoming bid from Manchester United.
The 23-year-old has been linked as a potential €50 million (£43m/$56m) target for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following a long-term injury to star forward Marcus Rashford.
Rashford is set for at least six weeks out of action, with some claiming even that is a conservative figure, leaving Anthony Martial and 18-year-old Mason Greenwood as United’s most reliable goalscorers.
Chelsea and Tottenham have reportedly already had offers for Dembele rebuffed by Lyon, and the Ligue 1 side have made their position clear.
“Our players are often targeted,” president Aulas told reporters.
“We want Moussa Dembele and Lucas Tousart [linked with Hertha Berlin] to stay.
“The latter has received significant offers. If he leaves, we will have to replace him first.
“But I think they will stay. Now is not the time for us to weaken our team.”
Dembele has been in superb form for Lyon this season, scoring 15 goals and assisting a further five across all competitions.
His tally of 11 in Ligue 1 is level with Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, with only Kylian Mbappe and Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder ahead of him in the French goalscoring stakes.
All told, Dembele has racked up 35 goals in a season and a half since joining from Celtic in the summer of 2018.
Such goalscoring prowess is in short supply at Old Trafford. Rashford’s 19 goals for the season have him way ahead of Martial’s 11 and Greenwood’s nine – the only other players to have scored more than three times for United this term.
But, with Lyon struggling for form themselves, manager Rudi Garcia would be disappointed to see any of his best players sold.
Lyon are seventh with 20 games played, seven points off potential Champions League qualification in third.
Their 22-year-old midfielder Tousart has been strongly linked with joining Jurgen Klinsmann’s project at Hertha Berlin.
While Hertha are only two points clear of the Bundesliga relegation play-off spot and were thrashed 4-0 at home by Bayern Munich at the weekend, they are expected to spend heavily in the coming seasons as they target European football.