Newcastle United are particularly interested in paying the asking price for Manchester United target Ousmane Dembele, according to reports in France.
Dembele could be about to enter his final week as a Barcelona player. The La Liga giants have announced they intend to sell him before the January transfer deadline. They have grown frustrated with him in talks over a contract renewal.
The French forward’s deal expires at the end of the season. He has been willing to stay with Barcelona, but not on the reduced salary they want him to take.
Therefore, the Catalan club have confirmed they are ready to send Dembele away. It has prompted a passionate response from the player himself, insisting he does remain at the club’s disposal.
But that won’t be for too much longer if Barcelona – who left him out of their squad for Thursday’s Copa Del Rey defeat to Athletic Bilbao – get their way.
Now, Le Parisien (via Get French Football News) have provided an update on Dembele’s situation. They reveal the asking price Barcelona have set for someone who once cost them a nine-figure sum – and who could pay it.
Now, Barca are apparently asking for €20m to sanction the sale of the contract rebel.
And that figure has caught the attention of Newcastle, who are keen to keep spending in their first transfer window since their Saudi-backed takeover.
Barcelona want Dembele gone and Tuchel wants him at Chelsea
Ousmane Dembele has been told he is free to leave Barcelona as he hasn’t signed a nee contract and they want him gone this January with Chelsea interested
So far, the new owners have helped them sign Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood. They still want to strengthen at both ends of the pitch and Dembele would be a statement signing.
While his Barcelona contract talks reached a stalemate over salary, Newcastle could in theory pay whatever they deem worthwhile. They wouldn’t want to be held to ransom, but should have more ability to meet Dembele’s demands than his current employers.
Also showing an interest in the 24-year-old are Man Utd. They have long since had him on their radar and may now have the opportunity to pounce.
There may be other areas of their squad that need strengthening more, but that hasn’t stopped them making major attacking signings in the recent past.
Dembele was reportedly wanting an annual salary of €20m from Barcelona, which equates to more than £300,000 per week. There was also reportedly a request for a signing-on bonus of €40m.
Therefore, signing Dembele should take a significant investment despite his price tag itself dropping. But it does not seem to have put off either Newcastle or Man Utd.
Tuchel responds to Dembele saga
One of the other favourites for Dembele’s signature, according to reports elsewhere, is Chelsea.
Thomas Tuchel coached the winger during their time together at Borussia Dortmund. Chelsea also have the financial power to reunite them should they wish.
Tuchel was asked about Dembele during his most recent press conference on Friday.
He replied: “He is a very good player at his top level. I am very fortunate to have trained him at Dortmund. It was only one year, should have been longer.
“From there we are not in close contact, we have met here and there with his duties for the French team and I was in Paris. He is in a situation I have no idea why, what it is in detail.
“I know how I feel about it when it is my players so it is better not to talk.”