Barcelona are reportedly in talks with Manchester United over a potential swap deal involving Ousmane Dembele and his compatriot Anthony Martial.
According to a report from ARA, Barcelona have approached Manchester United with a swap proposal that would see Ousmane Dembele move to Old Trafford in January with Anthony Martial arriving at Camp Nou on loan.
Dembele has been with Barcelona since 2017, but his time in Catalonia is coming to an end. The 24-year-old Frenchman’s contract expires at the end of the season, and he has rejected the club’s latest offer of an extension. Barça remain hopeful of convincing him to sign a new deal at reduced wages as they look to reduce their wage bill.
Barcelona signed Ferran Torres from Manchester City but cannot register him at the moment due to La Liga’s salary cap rules. To that end, Dembele’s extension on a lower wage would have helped them with the registration. But his refusal to do so has left the club considering alternatives that include the possibility of offloading him in January.
Such a move would free up space on the wage bill and also allow Barcelona to receive some money from his sale, rather than losing him for nothing at the end of the season. To that end, the Blaugrana have approached Manchester United and offered them the chance to sign the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner.
Manchester United have been credited with an interest in Dembele for some time now. The Red Devils are believed to have held talks with representatives over a possible free transfer in the summer. Now, though, they have been handed an opportunity to land him at a bargain fee in the winter transfer window by Barcelona.
However, the deal proposed by the Catalans would see Anthony Martial move the other way to Camp Nou. The Frenchman has struggled for game-time at Old Trafford and has made it clear that he wants an exit before the end of this month. Barcelona are hoping to capitalise on his situation by taking him on loan for the rest of the season as a direct replacement for Dembele, who would move to Old Trafford.
The report adds that Martial was closing in on a loan move to Sevilla. But Barcelona’s approach has now forced Manchester United to halt that deal, with the Red Devils now considering sending the 26-year-old ex-AS Monaco star to Camp Nou instead while fully bearing his €4 million net wages.
It seems to be a very convoluted arrangement, but in the end, both teams would be getting their desired targets while ensuring that squad depth is maintained, with one forward being replaced by another. However, it remains to be seen if the deal materialises before the January window slams shut.
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