Dembele, who turns 27 in July, had played a starring role in the Premier League for Fulham and in his first season at Tottenham Hotspur, but struggled to hit top form last season, particularly under Tim Sherwood. As a result, the Belgian has been linked with a move away from the club, with the likes of Everton suggested as potential suitors - yet could Manchester United also be interested?
The Red Devils had been linked with a swoop for Dembele whilst he was with Fulham, but with a poor season at White Hart Lane, why would United move for him now?
The simple answer is that Dembele first attracted the interest of English clubs whilst he was playing for AZ Alkmaar in Holland - where his manager was new United boss van Gaal. Dembele is a known fan of the 62-year-old - according to his mother, at least...
"Van Gaal was super strict," said his mother Tilly, "But Moussa loves it. A soft hand is nothing for him. He feels that there must be discipline and respect for the coach. A trainer for him someone you learn something. No Friend."
Van Gaal was similarly a big fan of Dembele, praising the midfielder for his influential displays at AZ Alkmaar, as seen in this interview here.
Despite the signing of Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera, United are still in desperate need of midfield help. A more athletic player who can take the ball and drive at defences through the heart of the pitch would be a welcome addition for United, and that's exactly what Dembele can offer when on top form.
Fans seemed underwhelmed at the thought of signing Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal, and they may feel the same about the possibility of signing another bit-part player from a rival, but van Gaal could be just the man to help Dembele rediscover the form that saw him star for Fulham.