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Ousmane Dembele ‘very close’ to signing for Manchester United – reports

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

Five wingers Manchester United could sign instead of Jadon Sancho this summer

Manchester United have been linked with Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho for well over a year now and that does not seem to be something that will end, even despite the Old Trafford club not adhering to the German clubs imposed deadline of the 10 August to sign the 20-year-old. It is still suggested that United want to sign the player this summer, but reports in the media are not making things easy at all. The club seem to be adamant that Sancho will remain at the club for the 2020/21 season.

Of course, that might be a ploy to get what the club wants, which is a minimum of £108 million for the player to leave the Bundesliga club this summer. However, that said, United need to think of other options that will still work, moving forward, otherwise they could be left with panic buy options which will not be best for the club and could see United in another Alexis Sanchez predicament at the club, which would mean that the club has not evolved or in fact learned anything from the past seven years.

Here are five other options that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could pursue to actually sign a winger this summer…

Kingsley Coman, 24, Bayern Munich

This Frenchman is probably the best of the five options in terms of bringing in the quality that United need this summer but also a difficult player to sign this summer, especially after Bayern Munich completed their treble, their second in seven years, by beating Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League final on Sunday evening, lifting their sixth title. Bayern also won the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal this season. Coman has been linked to United this summer but it might not be viable now.

This season, Coman made a total of 38 appearances for Bayern, scoring eight goals and seven assists. The 24-year-old Frenchman can play on either the left-wing or the right wing, playing 20 times on the right for this club. If Sancho was the first choice for United to bring in this summer, Coman should be number two on the list. However, there would be a difficulty in signing the player. Bayern have signed Leroy Sane already this summer and could also sign Ivan Perisic, who is on loan from Inter Milan with an option to buy. Should this happen, Coman might not see himself playing regular football for his club.

Ousmane Dembele, 23, Barcelona

This Frenchman is a player who has been linked to United already but a player that Barcelona are not willing to sell this summer. The Catalan club paid €105 million for the player from Borussia Dortmund three years ago and after suffering a number if injuries, it was reported that the club would look to get rid of the player. This season, four injury spells have seen the player miss around 40 matches, which is not a great sign. However, there is a chance that his injury hell could be behind him now.

Dembele has made a total of nine apperances for Barcelona this season, scoring one goal and no assists. The player can play on the left-wing and the right-wing, playing five times on the right this season. Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed that Dembele will not be sold this summer, but if a club was interested enough to place a bid for him, would that change? Barcelona’s 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League has led to a number of changes but some players seem to be untouchable this summer.

Jack Grealish, 24, Aston Villa

The Aston Villa captain is probably the more attainable player in this list so far despite the Birmingham club asking for around £80 million for the player this summer. United will not feel that he is worth that fee though and will need to put in the effort to get a deal done. It is suggested that Grealish would sign for United at the drop of a hat but that is yet to be seen. Before the player says anything, he would need to see a concrete plan for United to bring him to the Old Trafford club.

This season, Grealish made a total of 41 appearances for his club, scoring 10 goals and eight assists in a season which saw Villa avoid relegation on the final day of the season and reach the Carabao Cup final, in which they were beaten by Manchester City. Grealish is a player who will be considered a big fish in a small pond at Villa and would become a small fish in a big pond at United with some suggesting that he would be better placed staying put. That said, the player would learn more being able to play European football, which he will get at United more than at Villa.

Douglas Costa, 29, Juventus

I personally feel that the Brazilian would be a mistake at United. It was suggested that United were interested in signing him last summer with a bid of £54 million suggested, despite nothing seemingly happening and now United could be interested again, although this is newspaper talk rather than anyone of not suggesting that United are in fact interested. The player will be 30 soon and in the twilight of his career. He would want a relatively high wage ad with United suffering after signing Alexis Sanchez, the warning signs are there.

During the 2019/20 season, despite Costa making a total of 29 appearances, he scored just three goals, assisting seven more, which is not the sign of a player that would regain his form at United and be the player that they are missing in the squad. I could be wrong but I can only give my personal opinion on this. United could do much better and because of that, should seek to find much better. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to sign young and hungry players to get the club back on the trail of success, Costa is not young but he might be hungry for success – that might not be enough.

David Brooks, 23, Bournemouth

The Bournemouth winger might be the wild card in the pack here but United have held interest in the player for a while now. Formerly of Manchester City’s academy, Brooks left the club for Sheffield United, which is where he was seen by Bournemouth and signed in the summer of 2018 for £11.5 million. His career has not been the greatest though. In the 2018/19 season, he started off well making 33 appearances for his club, scoring seven goals and five assists. However, an ankle injury that season kept him out for five matches.

Brooks required surgery on his ankle at the end of the season, this kept him out of action for almost a full year. If it was not for the coronavirus pandemic, Brooks would not have played any football during the 2019/20 season. That said though, returning to fitness after the lockdown, Brooks made nine appearances scoring one goal and no assists, playing on the right-wing. The media has suggested that Brooks could be an option if United do not sign Sancho. However, I feel the 23-year-old could become a squad player at United, which might lead to more.

Written by John Walker

Barcelona forward to be available for £37 million this summer, alerting Manchester United and Arsenal – reports

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele could be available for just £37 million this summer, according to reports. This could be something that changes the summer plans of Premier League teams Manchester United and Arsenal, as they have previously held an interest in the player. He is not the first player at the Catalan club to have his asking price slashed.

It has been suggested that Barcelona has put the majority of their squad up for sale this summer, to balance the books because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, it is stated that at least six players will not be available, presumably including star player Lionel Messi and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ten Stegen.

Executives at the club know that they will need to sell a number of players in order to slash the wage bill, keeping the club solvent, which could be great for the buyers market this summer. Dembele was brought from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2017 for €105 million with add-ons reported to be in the region of €40 million.

If a sale happened for Dembele and it was this low, it would be a considerable loss for the Catalan club, one to regret. However, the player has not had the best time at the club which could be a deterrent for a number of clubs this summer, unless they feel they could bring out the best of the 23-year-old in the very near future.

This season, despite the coronavirus pandemic suspending world football, the French forward has made just nine appearances at the club, playing in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. He has scored just one solitary goal, playing 492 minutes of football, suffering a number of hamstring injuries this season, which could be a deterrent also.

Since signing for the club in the summer of 2017, Dembele has made a total of 74 appearances at the Catalan club, scoring just 19 goals and 17 assists. At Borussia Dortmund, Dembele made a total of 50 appearances, scoring ten goals and 22 assists. At Rennes, his first senior club. Dembele made a total of 29 appearances, scoring 12 goals and five assists.

Dembele has the ingredients to become a good player but with his number of injuries since signing for Barcelona and the lack of penetration going forward, with very few goals and assists, even £37 million could be an uncalculated risk and something United should stay clear of. However, if could all work out for him away from Spain.

In Spain, football is set to resume on the 8 June 2020 and Dembele is not going to be tested for coronavirus, which suggests he is not going to be fit before the conclusion of the season, therefore his 2019/20 season is over. This could be a reason for the price cut but his injury history needs to be looked at too. United, or anyone else do not need injury prone players.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might keep an eye out for the player and see what develops in the summer, but at this moment in time, he should continue pushing for the number one targets the club want to sign, of which Dembele, at least not this one, will be part of, if indeed he is in the plans of the club at all. I would doubt it right now.

copyright: JW