Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele is reported ‘very close’ to signing for Manchester United this summer. Spanish news source AS has suggested that the French winger signing for United would unlock the funds required for Barcelona to sign Memphis Depay this summer with the player seeking to leave Lyon. Dembele was linked to United back in May and it was suggested at the time that the player could have been available for £37 million back then, which is not quite the case at this moment in time. The report from AS suggests the Old Trafford club would need to spend between €50-€60 million on the player, which is a lot more than £37 million.
If the player was to leave Barcelona, it would allow the club to drop their wage bill, which will already be high because the club have kept hold of Lionel Messi, who is the clubs highest earner on nearly £1 million per week. It is suggested in the report, which was translates by Sport Witness, that United would be happy to pay between €50-€60 million for the French winger this summer, despite his seemingly poor record at the club after signing from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2017. Since signing for the club, he has missed 80 matches in three seasons due to various injuries with hamstring injuries the most regular.
This could well be a concern for United, who have many players already at the club who seem to spend a lot of the time on the sidelines through injury, rather than being available to play regularly instead. Dembele, if he signed for United, would need to watch himself and ensure that he was available more often than not, if a certain injury is preventable. The report does not state that any deal has been done or that an offer has actually been made but for something like this to be generated, there must have been some initial talks which might have reached advanced stages or that this whole story has been made up by the media. It seems strange to be true right now.
Lyon are said to be keen to sell Depay this summer with the player wanted by Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman, so if this happens, it could see Barcelona raising the money to bring Depay to the Nou Camp this summer. Depay seems to have a €25 million selling price this summer and the French club could half that to €12.5 million in order to sell the player this summer. There must be something desperate going on in order to do something like that – probably financial problems that could have become escalated because of the coronavirus pandemic or something similar. It seems strange that United have all of a sudden been linked with Dembele once again.
Dembele has played a total of 75 times for Barcelona in three full seasons 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20, including the one appearance he has made so far this season. In total, the French winger has scored 19 goals and 16 assists at the club, which is not something that will be seen as outstanding, in all honesty. Whilst at Borussia Dortmund, Dembele made a total of 50 appearances, scoring 10 goals and 22 assists, which for his age at the time, was good. The player is still only 23 so with injury avoided, he could find his feet at a new club, providing this is true and not just another rumour that goes nowhere, like we have seen all summer with Jadon Sancho.
At his first club, Stade Rennais, Dembele made a total of 29 appearances, scoring 12 goals and five assists. There seems to be few options for United this summer when seeking to sign a new winger with Sancho said to be the number one target all summer. If United do in fact make a move for Dembele, it would suggest that United will no longer pursue Sancho, which seems strange. There was a chance to sign the player this summer, but it passed by with nothing. Could this be a move to show Dortmund that United would be prepared to go elsewhere, seemingly alerting them that they will move for another player or it is just a rumour that has no legs?
Written by John Walker