Barcelona has reportedly told Ousmane Dembele that he would be sold this month after refusing to come to the table over a contract extension.
Barcelona has public financial problems, most recently shown by their inability to register Ferran Torres after moving from Manchester City to the Spanish club.
Hence, it seems they want to secure a fee for Dembele before his contract expires in the summer and also get his wages off their books.
As reported by Fabrizio Romano, Barcelona’s Director of Football Mateu Alemany, announced: “It’s clear that Dembele does not want to continue with Barcelona. He doesn’t want to be part of our project. We told Dembele he has to leave immediately. We expect Ousmane to be sold before January 31st.”
As reported by Carefree Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel has long been an admirer of the player so that the London club could be seen as a potential destination for the French winger.
The former Borussia Dortmund coach said of the player before the Champions League final when he was asked who is one of the most talented players he’s ever managed: “One of the first names that pops into my mind is Ousmane Dembele when he stepped in at Dortmund. Like that was a pretty natural talent and very, very outstanding.”
“Dembele was of the craziest natural talents because he was shooting free-kicks with the left, shooting corners with the left. Going to the other corners doing the inswing with the right. Going to penalties, shooting with left, shooting with right, dribbling, running, passing.”
But if Dembele is available, should Manchester United be doing more to sign him and could a swap deal involving Anthony Martial be possible?
Now it’s clear neither French winger wants to be at their respective clubs nor suits how either manager wants their forwards to play, but if you reverse their roles, they are much better fits.
Martial likes to be more involved in the build-up and interplay, coming narrow to receive the ball and then quickly play it off before finding more space on the pitch. It’s why he thrived in the ‘number nine’ role in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s fluid attacking unit originally at United.
Dembele is a classic winger; he likes to stay wide and take on defenders before playing it into the box for other attackers to get onto the end of. This would offer another option to solve Ralf Rangnick’s creative headache.
Dembele has two glaring issues: his injury record and his potential wage demands.
Dembele has missed 102 club games in his career through injury, and 14 of those games are just this year, showing how it is an ongoing problem for the forward to stay fit. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best player in the world if you’re never available, so United will have to gain assurance that he can improve this record.
There is also the issue of wages, and given that United are trying to offload the £250k a week wage packet of Martial, signing a player who could potentially want more might be seen as a problem.
Overall, the Dembele question boils down to whether he improves United on the pitch, and can he be an option for Rangnick and whoever United’s next permanent manager is? If the answer is yes, maybe it would be worth considering a move.