Chelsea given green light to sign €40m-rated French attacker

London club’s hopes of signing Lyon centre-forward Moussa Dembele have hit a significant stumbling block, with the Les Gones president, Jean-Michel Aulas, adamant he will not be allowed to leave this month.

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is eager to strengthen his side’s strike force now the Blues transfer ban has been lifted, with finding cover and competition for Tammy Abraham one of his top priorities.

U21 France international was identified as the ideal signing and London club already have a verbal agreement in place with the centre-forward though negotiating a fee with Ligue 1 giants is proving far more difficult.

They have reportedly already had a £34m offer rejected, and Aulas who is regarded as one football’s toughest negotiators has again insisted that Moussa will not be sold in winter. ‘We have not changed our minds. We already made this issue clear in August,’ said Aulas on Tuesday evening when asked about the 23-year-old striker.

‘Moussa is an excellent player. A player who we need. ‘We are taking explicit measures in our recruitment not to bring someone in who will compete for his position. It is not a question of money. Moussa will be with us.’

Frank spoke about the French centre-forward last week and admitted he is a footballer that Chelsea are aware of, though played down suggestions that a deal for the striker was close.

‘He is a player I know, and a player that the club know,’ said the Chelsea manager. ‘But I’m surprised to see his name to pop up so regularly when it’s not popping up in my conversations so regularly, to be brutally honest.