Why Chelsea and Man Utd are eyeing a bargain deal for Barcelona star Dembele

Paul Macdonald
Paul Macdonald Updated: 20 May 2021 11:26 BST 4 min read
Why Chelsea and Man Utd are eyeing a bargain deal for Barcelona star Dembele

Expect Ousmane Dembele to feature prominently in transfer speculation over the coming months, with Chelsea and Manchester United among the teams eyeing a bargain move.

Juventus and European champions Bayern Munich are also closely tracking the Barcelona winger.

Dembele joined Barcelona for an astonishing €105 million from Borussia Dortmund in 2017.

The fee could reach €145m once add-ons are factored in.

Injuries have meant Barca fans are yet to see the best of the pacey attacker.

Even when he has been fit, Dembele has not always made the most of his chances, so the club’s investment has not been rewarded.

But some displays when he has been on the pitch for Barca this season, which included a fine display in the Champions League win at Juventus, have provided a timely reminder of his potential.

Still just 23, with rare attributes and experience in three of Europe’s top five leagues, it is easy to see why there could be interest from some of the continent’s biggest clubs.

Dembele: Contract situation

The France international signed a five-year deal when he arrived at Camp Nou.

That means he is under contract until 2022.

With 18 months left on that agreement, the situation is quickly reaching a pivotal point.

Sport report Barca will have no option but to sell Dembele in the summer if they cannot thrash out terms on a renewal.

Why Chelsea and Man Utd are eyeing a bargain deal for Barcelona star Dembele

Why Chelsea and Man Utd are eyeing a bargain deal for Barcelona star Dembele

Complicating the situation over his renewal and a possible move is Barca’s dire financial situation.

If Dembele does not renew by the summer, Barca cannot contemplate the risk of allowing him to leave for nothing.

That is partly driven by their finances, but also by how much they spent on him initially.

And a renewal is harder to achieve with Barca’s wage budget facing downward pressure.

If a deal is not done, unless they can spark a bidding war, Barca could be forced to accept a fee in the region of €35m-€40m.

Barca were open to selling or loaning Dembele in the summer, though a move did not materialise.

Premier League sides whose finances look stronger amid the coronavirus pandemic may be poised to take advantage.

United were linked with Dembele then as they desperately sought an alternative to their doomed pursuit of Jadon Sancho.

Barca’s finances mean they have to sell major players if they are to bring in anyone of note.

Who could Barcelona sign?

Ronald Koeman is respectful of the financial predicament at Camp Nou.

But the head coach has also been clear the club must make additions if they are to improve.

“My position is known,” Koeman said before Sunday’s match against Elche.

“We lack people, but the economic situation of the club is an influence.

“I think we all think the same.

“If no one arrives, I accept it and we continue the same, but if we want more we must sign.”

Mundo Deportivo reports Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is a target on a free transfer at the end of the season.

The club are eager to sign a high-profile name to appease fans without spending big.

Aguero could help convince compatriot Lionel Messi to stay, according to the report, so he may fit the bill.

However, devoting limited salary and resources to bring in a striker who turns 33 this summer and has seen injuries become an increasing problem may not be the most prudent move.

Barca have not given up hope on signing David Alaba, though he is reportedly closer to Real Madrid.

City defender Eric Garcia is likely to join in the summer rather than January so Barca do not have to pay a transfer fee.

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is another target with an expiring contract.

Lyon star Memphis Depay has regularly been linked too.