Barcelona’s hopes of landing Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic have been boosted with the Italian club reportedly keen to bring Ousmane Dembele in the other direction.
The 23-year-old has been blighted by injury and loss of form since joining the club from Borussia Dortmund for £138million in 2017.
Those lingering injury issues remain a cause for concern and so Juventus, according to the front page of Monday’s Mundo Deportivo, have asked Barcelona about the potential for a season-long loan with an option-to-buy Dembele as part of the Pjanic negotiations.
Barcelona need sales this summer to raise funds for their top players with Pjanic, Lautaro Martinez and Neymar their three preferred signings.
To get these players, Barcelona are acutely aware of the need to shift some of the big earners who are not meriting their spots in the team.
All in all Dembele has 74 appearances and 19 goals in his Barca career and is believed to be earning around £200,000-a-week.
Juventus’ hopes for a loan move for the Frenchman would appear to suggest they want to see how his body fares under the rigours of Italian football and an option-to-buy would arrive when he has a year left on his deal with Barcelona.
Barcelona boss Quique Setien has reportedly been keen to work with Dembele and maximise his potential.
But with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann, Ansu Fati and Martin Braithwaite, as well as the pursuit of Inter Milan striker Martinez, Dembele could be used as a crucial bargaining in getting a deal for Pjanic over the line.
Juventus had made Brazilian midfielder Arthur Melo the top choice of player they wanted from the Nou Camp for any swap deal.
But reports in Spain reiterate that he does not want to move to Italy and so Barcelona need to find another player of interest to Juventus to keep the deal alive.
Pjanic, 30, is highly-valued by Juventus and they are unlikely to compromise their €60m (£53.6m) valuation despite the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bosnian has been a major success at Juve since arriving from Roma in 2016, winning three Serie A titles and two Italian Cups.
Although there will be question marks surrounding Pjanic’s advancing years, Barca instead see his age as a positive in terms of experience that would be invaluable to the likes of young talent including Riqui Puig.