Manchester United could secure themselves a bargain deal in the January transfer window after being linked with a move for Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele.
According to Mundo Deportivo (as relayed by The Express), United have joined the race for the 24-year-old but he’s been offered a new salary of £9.4m to stay at the Nou Camp for the foreseeable future.
Manager Xavi Hernandez has reportedly expressed his desire for Dembele to stay put in the negotiations, and although the France international wants to remain at Barca, he has been offered significantly more money by other clubs.
The drawn-out talks have seen Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and the Red Devils circle for the youngster’s signature, with the latest updates claiming he has decided to call an end to his time in Catalonia.
Spanish journalist Jota Jordi has claimed that despite Xavi insisting he will be a key part of his plans, Dembele is set to snub the offer of a new deal, opening the door to an imminent exit.
“Dembélé has told Xavi not to count on him for next year. They are going to try to convince him, I understand. He can negotiate with whoever he wants in 25 days,” Jota told El Chiringuito.
Dembele rose to prominence at Borussia Dortmund after departing boyhood club Rennes and was regarded as one of the world’s most promising stars when he joined Barca for a fee potentially rising to £135.5m back in August 2017.
Then Rennes sporting director Mikael Silvestre and former United defender compared him to a young Cristiano Ronaldo, saying: “I saw Cristiano Ronaldo arrive at the same age at Manchester United, and Ousmane has the same characteristics, which remind me of a young Cristiano.”
However, injuries have significantly hampered the flying winger’s progress and game time ever since he arrived at the La Liga giants.
But he has continued to show flashes of his truly world-class potential when fit and available for selection, earning praise from former teammate and seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.
“On the pitch, he’s a phenomenon. It’s up to him where he ends up, he could be one of the best,” Messi is quoted by Sport as saying in December 2018. “He’s young, and he is adapting.”
Therefore, the £287,000-per-week ace could prove to be a real bargain if interim manager Ralf Rangnick can secure his services in a cut-price deal in January, or on a free next summer.
With Edinson Cavani out of contract in the red half of Manchester at the end of the current campaign, the 20-time English champions will need some attacking reinforcements and Dembele could be the ideal candidate.