Barcelona may reportedly end up blocking Ousmane Dembele’s exit in January amid Manchester United interest, owing to the injury to Ansu Fati.
According to Spanish publication Sport, Barcelona are pondering whether or not to sell star attacker Ousmane Dembele, who is a target for Manchester United, in the January transfer window, after they lost teenage prodigy Ansu Fati to a serious injury this past weekend.
Dembele has been with Barcelona since 2017, having arrived as the replacement for Neymar. However, injuries have stalled his development at Camp Nou, with the 23-year-old failing to reach the heights expected of him when he made the big-money move from Borussia Dortmund.
The Catalans came very close to offloading Dembele this past summer, with the club coming to an agreement with Manchester United over a loan move with an obligation to make the transfer permanent next year. However, the move fell through, and the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner ended up staying put in Catalonia.
Dembele has had a decent start to the 2020/21 season so far, scoring three goals and setting up one more in eight appearances across all competitions. But, Barcelona had already made plans to offload him in the winter transfer window, with the La Liga giants needing to generate cash to fund a move for top target Memphis Depay.
Dembele is among five players, along with Junior Firpo, Carles Alena, Samuel Umtiti and Martin Braithwaite, that Barcelona were planning on selling in January. However, the unfortunate injury to teenage sensation Ansu Fati seems to have put a spanner in the works, at least as far as Dembele’s sale is concerned.
The 18-year-old picked up a knee injury this past weekend against Real Betis and has undergone surgery on Monday. He is expected to be sidelined for close to four months, as per the official update from the club. With Philippe Coutinho already on the sidelines and Fati now joining him, Barcelona are considering their stance on Dembele.
This is likely to come as a blow for Manchester United, who are in desperate need of a right-sided winger. Having failed to land priority target Jadon Sancho in the summer, the Red Devils had turned their focus towards Dembele as an alternative. In fact, they had even agreed personal terms with the Frenchman, only to see the move fall through.
The news of Barcelona putting the 23-year-old up for sale would have sparked hopes of a potential January transfer at Old Trafford. But the latest development is likely to pour cold water on any such hopes. There’s still time for the winter window to open for business though, and plans could change again between now and then.