The Hard Tackle lists three players Barcelona should target to replace Ousmane Dembele, who could depart from Camp Nou this summer.
Barcelona’s state of transition has seemed never-ending in the last couple of years, especially with the managerial situation being extremely volatile. But Camp Nou seems to have a sense of stability lately, with Xavi Hernandez appearing as the long-term solution at the helm after showing some promising signs since arriving from Qatar late last year.
While the Catalan giants still have a long way to go before becoming an all-conquering side again, there is a feeling that the team is moving in the right direction under the tutelage of Xavi. But Barcelona will need to be efficient in the market in the summer transfer window to continue to move in the right direction.
One player whose potential departure Barcelona will need to ace in the summer transfer window is Ousmane Dembele. While all hope is not lost in Barcelona’s efforts to retain the services of the French international, recent reports have claimed they are about to give up as contract renewal talks continue to get dragged.
With some of the most high profile clubs in Europe, including Paris Saint-Germain, hot on his trail, Dembele could leave Barcelona in the summer transfer window, considering the riches he will have on offer. So Barcelona will need to have a plan ready to fill Dembele’s void if the 2018 FIFA World Cup departs from Camp Nou.
Barcelona will naturally need to scour the market for a top-class replacement before Dembele officially becomes a free agent, considering Xavi does not have a viable alternative to the French forward in the first-team squad. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle looks at three options for Barcelona to consider to replace Ousmane Dembele in the summer transfer window.
The first name on our list is quite obvious, considering the widespread links in the last few months. While Raphinha was originally speculated to move to Barcelona irrespective of Ousmane Dembele’s future, the Brazilian international might essentially replace the star wide man next season.
Raphinha has taken the Premier League by storm with his enterprising performances for Leeds United. The best part about signing Raphinha for Barcelona would be his directness, which will add a layer of unpredictability to Barcelona’s gameplay, making their offensive unit more fearsome.
Another pleasing aspect about potentially signing Raphinha is that he is not a finished article yet. So while Raphinha’s passing is not the best, Xavi Hernandez will be able to work with the Brazilian forward to iron out the issues in his game and make him a world-class attacker.
But Leeds United will need some convincing after the Whites rejected Barcelona’s initial proposal for Raphinha. The player is desperate to move to Barcelona in the summer transfer window and has reportedly requested Leeds United to grant him a transfer after guiding them to safety in the Premier League. Despite the obstacles, Raphinha is the likeliest candidate to join Barcelona.
The next name on our list is a potential wildcard for Barcelona. While this player’s contract situation makes him an appealing prospect for the Blaugrana, he is also a target for arch-rivals Real Madrid, with several clubs in the Premier League also hot on his trail. We are talking about Raheem Sterling.
The English international has been an enigmatic figure in the last couple of seasons, as he has blown hot and cold for Manchester City while being a pivotal player for the Three Lions. Sterling was instrumental in England’s run to the UEFA Euro 2020 final, but his stature has reduced at Manchester City.
The 27-year-old enjoyed a reasonably solid 2021/22 campaign with Manchester City, but Pep Guardiola has been hesitant in handing him starts in the biggest games. And with Sterling’s contract set to run out next year, Barcelona will believe that he is approachable this summer.
Sterling’s versatility also makes him an appealing target for Barcelona, as he will be able to adapt to Xavi’s demands based on the way the Barcelona manager wants to mix things up against certain opponents. But the interest from Real Madrid and Premier League giants could leave the Blaugrana in a spot of bother.
Mohamed Salah would be an ideal replacement for Ousmane Dembele at FC Barcelona, with the Liverpool talisman’s qualities potentially making him an upgrade. But Salah has insisted that he will remain at Liverpool FC beyond the summer transfer window, while his teammate and the last name on our list, Sadio Mane, has been coy on his future.
Mane has recently popped up on Barcelona’s radar, but like Sterling, several other European bigwigs are keen on signing the Liverpool forward in the summer transfer window. Recent reports have even claimed that Mane is keen on joining Real Madrid, even though the interest has not been forthcoming from Los Blancos.
Mane will not be a like-for-like replacement for Dembele, but he will add goals to Barcelona’s tally by the truckloads. And with the Catalan giants desperate to have more prolific players in the first-team squad, Mane’s addition will go a long way in addressing a problem area at Camp Nou.
Mane is reportedly open to joining Barcelona, but the same can be said about other suitors like PSG and Bayern Munich. And Barcelona will further be in a spot of bother if the Liverpool forward becomes a target for Real Madrid. But if the chance to sign Mane appears, the Senegalese attacker will be the ideal replacement for Dembele, all things considered.