Barcelona’s strange stance over forward Ousmane Dembele could see Newcastle sign the Frenchman next year, according to reports.
The 24-year-old enjoyed an impressive season at Borussia Dortmund in 2016-17 before Barcelona paid £135.5m to take him to Spain. He arrived at the Camp Nou with great promise but has never managed to win over the club’s fans.
Dembele has spent plenty of time on the sidelines due to recurring hamstring and knee injuries. He has featured for just 25 minutes this season, during the 1-0 Champions League win over Dynamo Kiev.
However, his latest injury setback means he will miss Barcelona’s upcoming fixtures against Espanyol, Benfica and Villarreal. He could return for the home game against Real Betis on December 5.
New boss Xavi recently spoke about the impact Dembele could have if fully fit. He backed the winger to become ‘world class’, saying Barcelona ‘have to help him’.
Dembele’s current deal expires in June, which means potential suitors can organise a pre-contract agreement in January. Xavi is keen for that not to happen, but the former midfielder will potentially be angry at Barca’s solution.
The Express, citing reports in the Spanish media, write that Barca have offered Dembele a form of ‘pay-as-you-play’ deal. Should he sign, it would see his weekly wage reduced. Instead, he would earn major bonuses thanks to appearances made and goals scored.
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But the player has no control over his injuries and the Express claim that he may become disillusioned with the terms on offer.
He may look to join Newcastle on a free transfer as a result. The Magpies have more than enough money to meet his contract demands thanks to their £305m takeover.
Dembele’s arrival would be just the signing Eddie Howe needs to make a statement. It would reveal their newly-found pulling power and improve the manager’s attacking options.
Should he manage to stay fit then Dembele could be an electric addition to the Newcastle squad.
Newcastle also in for Juventus man
Dembele is not the only out-of-contract star being monitored. Italian outlet Tuttosport state that Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey is also under consideration.
Bianconeri boss Max Allegri has reportedly ‘lost faith’ in the Wales international. He is surplus to requirements as Manuel Locatelli, Arthur, Adrien Rabiot and Weston McKennie are also available in his position.
Ramsey would bring plenty of experience to the Newcastle squad. He won three FA Cups and three Community Shields during an 11-year spell at Arsenal.
The 30-year-old has made five appearances for Juventus so far this term but is yet to open his account.