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Premier League • England

Liverpool, Newcastle given free run at forward with Mbappe ambition

France forwards Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele 2021

Liverpool and Newcastle have been alerted to a golden opportunity after Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele rejected his latest contract offer, according to a report.

Dembele, 24, is currently in the final year of his contract at the Camp Nou. The Frenchman returned to La Liga action on Saturday after knee and hamstring injuries enforced his absence throughout the campaign thus far.

Barcelona are short of firepower in the final third after Sergio Aguero’s heart condition laid waste to any chance of him making an impact in Spain.

Dembele could aid new boss Xavi in his quest to return Barcelona to glory. However, persistent rumours over either a free agent exit next summer or a cut-price January transfer have always lingered.

Indeed, Liverpool and Newcastle were touted with their needs very much different.

Liverpool will be without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane for up to six weeks in the new year when AFCON begins. Newcastle, meanwhile, will look to spend their way out of relegation trouble when the winter window opens.

Now, Spanish outlet Sport has provided an encouraging update for any side seeking Dembele’s services. However, it appears suitors will have to wait until next summer before landing their man.

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They claim the Frenchman has ‘rejected’ Barcelona’s latest renewal offer. As such, he is looking increasingly likely to be available as a free agent next summer.

Dembele is stated to have ‘better proposals’ from ‘foreign clubs’ than what Barcelona have offered. The article concludes that Dembele wants to follow in fellow Frenchman Mbappe’s footsteps and ‘get rich’.

Mbappe is also out of contract next summer and will be the most coveted free agent on the market. Real Madrid have drawn frequent links and any such contract with Los Blancos is likely to be an astronomical one.

Liverpool eyeing Dembele teammate

Meanwhile, Liverpool are showing particular interest as the top Premier League clubs keep tabs on Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo, according to a report.

Urugayan defender Araujo, 22, is a hot prospect in their defence. He entered Barca’s first-team ranks last season and has played 53 games so far.

Previous reports have claimed that Barcelona have made attempts at tying the player down to a new deal. According to ESPN, though, the La Liga club have encountered fresh struggles in those discussions, which has alerted Premier League clubs.

Barcelona want Araujo to sign a new five-year deal. However, his salary demands are so far proving a major stumbling block to his renewal.

Manchester United have transfer interest and ESPN notes that the Red Devils can offer what Barcelona cannot.

However, it is Liverpool who are showing particular interest as it stands. In fact, the Reds have sent scouts to watch Araujo throughout 2021 and they have sent back impressive reports.

The centre-back would prove a big loss to Barcelona, ESPN adds. New head coach Xavi has installed him as a cornerstone of the future of his Barca team.

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