Manchester United are reportedly ready to up their efforts to try and sign Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele on a free transfer next year.
According to a report from Catalan publication SPORT, Manchester United are preparing a mega-contract offer for Ousmane Dembele as they plot to lure him away from Barcelona on a Bosman move in 2022.
Dembele has been with Barcelona since the summer of 2017 when he arrived as a replacement for Neymar who had left for PSG. The Frenchman, however, has had a difficult time in Catalonia, having had to struggle with numerous injury and fitness issues that have prohibited him from realising his full potential.
Indeed, Dembele has missed close to 100 games for Barcelona during his time at Camp Nou, while making just over 100 appearances so far. The 24-year-old is yet to kick a ball this season after having been sidelined during the summer at the UEFA Euro 2020 but is expected to return to action in the coming weeks.
However, as things stand, it remains unclear as to how long Dembele will remain a Barcelona player. The 24-year-old has entered the final year of his contract with the Catalan giants. And despite having held talks over a new deal, an agreement is yet to be reached, leaving his future up in the air.
A number of top clubs from across Europe have been alerted by the situation, including Manchester United. It is no secret that the Red Devils tried hard to sign him in the summer of last year and were close to completing a loan deal until Barcelona insisted on him signing a new contract before leaving, which led to the switch not materialising.
Since then, Manchester United have added impressively to their attacking unit by signing the likes of Amad Diallo, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, but have continued to keep tabs on Dembele while maintaining talks with his representatives. And, should the 24-year-old not sign an extension with the Catalans, they are ready to hand him a bumper contract, the report claims.
Despite having a plethora of options at his disposal already, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems keen on adding more quality to his attacking unit. It would make sense as well considering that Jesse Lingard is out of contract at the end of the season while Mason Greenwood’s long-term future is seen in the centre-forward slot, freeing up a spot out wide.
Furthermore, Anthony Martial is also facing an uncertain future at Old Trafford after years of inconsistency. Should he leave at the end of the season, there would be room created for someone like his compatriot, Dembele, to come into the side. However, a move will not be easy to pull off as the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea are also in the hunt, as are Juventus.
Barcelona, for their part, are keen on holding on to Dembele, but are unable to offer him better terms on his deal due to the financial situation. However, there is a belief that the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner is comfortable at Camp Nou despite his injury woes and would eventually sign a new deal. It now remains to be seen if the financial package that United are preparing is enough to change his mind.