The Hard Tackle takes a look at the latest transfer news surrounding La Liga heavyweights Barcelona as the summer window looms large.
Barcelona are facing a critical summer transfer window as they look to bounce back after a disappointing 2020/21 season under Ronald Koeman. However, under the presidency of Joan Laporta, things are looking up for the Catalans, with the club already having made three new signings in the form of Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal.
More transfer activity is expected at Camp Nou over the coming weeks as the Blaugrana look to shore up their roster across all departments. Along with that, there could be several exits as well, with Barcelona needing to cut down on their enormous wage bill.
As is the case in the lead-up up to and during the transfer window, the Catalan giants continue to be linked with players left, right and centre. And without much ado, let’s dive into the latest transfer happenings and rumours surrounding Barcelona.
Memphis Depay closes in on Barcelona move
One of the transfer sagas that has been going in since last summer could finally reach a conclusion as Memphis Depay is close to completing a transfer to Barcelona, as per a report from Mundo Deportivo. The Cules are confident of getting the deal across the finish line as early as next week, after being happy with how the negotiations have gone.
However, there are some apprehensions, having seen Depay’s compatriot Georginio Wijnaldum make a last-minute turn to snub Barcelona and sign for Paris Saint-Germain. Like the ex-Liverpool midfielder, Depay has a number of proposals as his contract runs out with Olympique Lyon in weeks. But the presence of Ronald Koeman at the helm confirmed for another season at least that should help Barca sway Depay into agreeing a switch to Camp Nou.
Depay is currently away on international duty with Netherlands in the UEFA Euro 2020 and has been in blistering form over the past couple of months. His potential signing would be a huge one for Barcelona, considering that Aguero has had fitness issues in the recent past. With both the club and the player seemingly in agreement on a three-year contract, a deal is closer to happening.
Manchester City set to reject Barcelona approach for Ilkay Gundogan
While one deal inches closer, it seems like Barcelona have had the doors slam shut on the prospect of another transfer as Manchester City are set to reject their approach for midfield mainstay Ilkay Gundogan, reports ESPN. The German international has recently emerged on the radars of the Catalan outfit, following Wijnaldum’s snub and the doubts surrounding the future of Miralem Pjanic.
Reports had even claimed that Gundogan would be open to a transfer to Camp Nou as well. However, it seems like any proposal for the 30-year-old will be rejected by the Premier League champions, who have no intentions of letting leave their surprise top scorer in the 2020/21 season. Indeed, Gundogan netted 17 goals in 46 games last term, playing a key role in City’s league and Carabao Cup double, and the finals run in the Champions League.
With still two years left on his current contract, Manchester City have the upper hand in any potential negotiations. And even though there are no talks planned with Gundogan over a new deal, Pep Guardiola sees him as an integral part of the team, meaning Barcelona will have to look elsewhere for reinforcements in the centre of the park.
Barcelona issue Ousmane Dembele contract ultimatum
The same report from ESPN provides an update on an existing Barcelona player whose future is shrouded in question marks heading into the summer. It is being claimed that the Catalan giants have issued an ultimatum to French winger Ousmane Dembele to either sign a new deal or pack up his bags as he enters the final year of his contract with the club.
A mega-money signing in 2017, Dembele has struggled for form and fitness at Barcelona. The season gone by, though, offered a glimmer of hope as he stayed fit for extended periods and showed consistency in his performances. However, with just twelve months left on his contract, the Blaugrana don’t want to run the risk of losing him for nothing in 2022.
The 24-year-old is said to be in no rush to sign a new deal, but Barcelona are unhappy with the lack of urgency being shown by the winger. The club is of the belief that in Ansu Fati and potentially, Depay, they will have players who can easily replace him should he not sign a new deal. At the same time, Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling is also being lined up as a replacement. An intriguing summer beckons Dembele.