Ousmane Dembele could become a Manchester United player this week but reports have differed wildly as to whether it would be a loan or permanent move.
The Red Devils are still believed to be trying to sign Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, but have lined up Dembele as an alternative should their last-ditch efforts to sign the Englishman prove unfruitful.
Barcelona are desperate to raise funds to facilitate their move for former United star Memphis Depay from Lyon, and with Ansu Fati on their books, they have decided that they are willing to let Dembele go for between £45 – £55 million – a fraction of the £125 million they paid for him from Borussia Dortmund two years ago.
Spanish outlet AS reported yesterday evening that ‘the French winger of Barcelona is very close to closing his transfer to Manchester United so that Barça would have the financial muscle to face the Memphis Depay operation,’ and that ‘part of what Barcelona would gain through the transfer of Dembélé would be used to sign Depay.
It has been widely reported this summer that Dembele does not wish to leave the Camp Nou and while the English press claim that that is still the case, Mundo Deportivo reporter Francesc Alguilar last night claimed that: ‘Ed Woodward, the executive director of United, was the one who contacted Ousmane Dembélé’s entourage and Barça…They have been trying to convince Dembele for some time, but he wanted to continue at Barça…[but] in the end, they have succeeded.’
Ed Woodward, el director ejecutivo del M.United, fue quien contactó con el entorno de Ousmane Dembélé y con el Barça. Llevaban tiempo tratando de convencer a Dembouz, que quería seguir en el Barça. Al final, lo han conseguido. En la Premier, Dembouz se saldrá por sus cualidades.
— Francesc Aguilar (@FApor_elmundo) September 29, 2020
Meanwhile, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano believes that both United and Dembele would prefer a loan, saying ‘#MUFC would only consider a loan deal and the player always refused to leave Barça [turned down #LFC and Juve bids] on last 3 months.’
Man United are also considering other options, as reported [Sancho is always the “first target” as Bruno was on last summer] ?
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 29, 2020
The question, therefore is: who is right and what is going on?
The fact of the matter is that much as Barcelona would want to sell Dembele to raise funds for the Depay transfer, United will not want to go down that road, and the player will be hesitant as well.
For United, Dembele’s woeful injury record is a concern. Since arriving at the Camp Nou, he has torn his biceps femoris tendon twice and was out for over half of last season. In three years he has suffered seven muscle injuries.
It is logical therefore that those injury doubts are quashed before the Red Devils commit to a contract for the player, and a season-long loan would also give Dembele himself the chance to evaluate life in the Premier League and whether it is something he wants to do permanently. A loan with an option to buy – with the player’s right of veto – therefore seems like the most likely scenario.
Losing Dembele’s salary off the books and receiving a reasonable loan fee from the Red Devils should go a long way to clearing the path for Depay’s transfer, so at this late stage, the Blaugrana are likely to make do with that scenario as well.
That seems to be the way things are progressing this morning, with Sky Sports having reported that the two clubs are now locked in discussions over a loan deal.
Manchester United’s new star Donny van de Beek is the 13th Dutch national to play for the senior side. But how much do you know about the other 12? Take our quiz below to find out.