Celtic forward and mooted Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Everton target Moussa Dembele has the potential to become one of the best strikers in Europe, according to his manager Brendan Rodgers.
Dembele's stock has risen significantly since he left Championship outfit Fulham to join Celtic for a nominal fee in the summer of 2016; the 21-year-old helped fire the Bhoys to a historic treble last season and has plundered seven goals in as many starts for Rodgers' side in the current campaign.
The France youth international's performances in Glasgow have predictably earned him admirers, with United and his former club PSG said to be monitoring his development, according to L'Equipe, relayed by The Guardian. Discussions between United and Dembele are said to be underway, with Rodgers having already made peace with his star striker's inevitable departure.
The Celtic boss will no doubt be loath to lose Dembele, who was heavily linked with a move to Chelsea earlier this year, but he is certain his coveted forward has the talent and mentality required to play for the likes of PSG and United.
"I believe he's got the talent and the quality to go right to the very top. He has the footballing qualities, but also that self-belief," Rodgers told Sky Sports.
"[In] my coaching life and managerial career, I've worked with top talent, especially that end of the field. I certainly think he's on course to be up there with one of the best strikers because he has all those attributes, but he's still very young.
"He's a big talent and developing very well. He is still very young but he has shown it for Celtic and for the French U21s, and I'm sure Didier Deschamps and his staff will be looking at the next step for him, which I believe will be into the full national team."
If Dembele keeps developing as rapidly as he has been over the last 18 months, he may soon be out of reach for clubs like Everton, who are currently fighting for Premier League survival, not a place in the Champions League.
The troubled Toffees did consider signing Dembele, who scored against PSG in the Champions League on Wednesday before Unai Emery's men ran riot, in the summer as they scoured the transfer market for a replacement for Romelu Lukaku, with previous reports suggesting the Toffees were preparing a £30m offer for the forward. However, they ultimately decided against bringing him to Goodison Park.
The Everton hierarchy may regret their decision, given their toothless nature in front of goal, but it remains to be seen if Steve Walsh and co see fit to reignite their interest in Dembele, who would justify his summer valuation according to former Celtic hitman Chris Sutton.
"He's back to fitness now and scoring goals. Everton need a striker and he would be a good choice," Sutton said. "It has to be £30m minimum, in this market. Scottish teams, Celtic in particular, have got to stop undervaluing their players, as they did with Virgil van Dijk."