Manchester United have no intention of signing Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele on transfer deadline day, giving Paris Saint-Germain a free run at a deal.
Earlier this month, Barca were hit with a legal warning after a threat was made by sporting director Mateu Alemany that the player has been told that “he must leave the club as soon as possible.”
Blaugrana boss Xavi Hernandez had claimed he felt cheated by the Frenchman and the player was handed a final warning by the coach in what appeared to be a transfer ultimatum.
Dembele was subsequently excluded from the matchday squads for the Copa del Rey trip to Athletic Bilbao and La Liga trip to Alaves respectively, although officially he missed the latter due to illness.
Last week, the player’s agent Moussa Sissoko was caught on camera to be receiving a phone call from PSG sporting director Leonardo – further fuelling speculation of a move to Paris.
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Dembele is out of contract at the Camp Nou on 30 June and Barca are desperate not to lose him as a free agent and are keen to recoup a transfer fee in this transfer window.
Furthermore, the club are also keen to save on the player’s salary as they must make savings in order to justify further signings.
The Catalan club have already completed the signing of Ferran Torres from Manchester City this month in what appears to be a direct replacement for Dembele in their first-team squad.
Barca have also added Dani Alves and Adama Traore to their ranks, and may complete a deadline day deal for Arsenal outcast Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Dembele has been strongly linked with a move to the Premier League with Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea among the clubs linked to his signature.
The Frenchman has been free to speak to other clubs since 1 January and agree a pre-contract due to his contract expiring on 30 June.
The former Rennes forward utilises his technical ability, speed, and agility to beat opponents and open defences – with his tactical adaptability also likely to be highly valued by many clubs.
Yet there is no interest from Old Trafford in making a late move in the January transfer window, despite reports that they may make a move.
United’s signing of Jadon Sancho last summer means they are well-stocked in the position with Facundo Pellestri and Amad Diallo also out on loan, with Marcus Rashford another option in the position.
Barca paid £105million – in a deal rising to a potential £135m – to sign Dembele from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 in a transfer that has become symbolic of the club’s reckless transfer policy.
Dembele looks certain to leave the Camp Nou this year with Barca hoping that a deal is concluded on Monday rather than a delay until the summer.
Yet United are not in the market for him – with the Red Devils unlikely to make any incomings on transfer deadline day with the summer transfer window to focus on recruiting a central midfielder.