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Fulham failed in an audacious attempt to bring former forward Moussa Demeble back to Craven Cottage earlier this month, according to reports this afternoon.

Football Insider reports that the Whites were keen to entice Dembele back to England using the carrot of Premier League football, but were simply unable to match the wage package offered by Atletico Madrid. The 24 year-old was formally announced as an Atletico player earlier this week, joining on an initial loan deal that will become a £30m permanent deal in the summer.

Scott Parker has spoken of the importance of bringing in additional forwards during the January transfer, given that he is currently deploying Ivan Cavaleiro as a striker as Aleksandar Mitrovic struggles for both form and fitness. The Fulham boss suggested over the weekend that he wants reinforcements quickly, but the Londoners have only been linked with possible moves for Newcastle’s Dwight Gayle and the Bournemouth striker Josh King.

Fulham’s unlikely pursuit of Dembele, who joined the club on a free transfer from French giants Paris Saint-Germain at the age of sixteen, highlights just how desperate they are to land a reliable striker to power their survival bid. Dembele, who was a regular scorer for the club’s academy sides, eventually went to score 19 goals in 64 senior appearances before joining Celtic for a nominal fee once his Fulham contract expired in the summer of 2016.