Barcelona will listen to loan offers for Ousmane Dembele in the summer such is the desire to get him off the wage bill and to stop his value nose-diving, reports Mail.
There is huge confidence at the club in the ability of 20-year-old Francisco Trincao, signed from Braga in January, and 17-year-old Ansu Fati, to push on next season.
If the Portuguese forward hits the ground running and Fati continues to develop then Barcelona feel they can allow Dembele to leave even if he doesn’t immediately bring in a fee.
The club are open to a similar deal to the one that took Philippe Coutinho to Bayern Munich last summer. Bayern paid around 12m euros (£10.7m) for the one-year loan, plus the player’s wage believed to be around 12m. They had the option of buying him for 120m euros when the season ends.
Barcelona never expected that offer to be taken up but they gambled on his time in Germany being so successful that his value would return the sort of levels it was at when they signed him in January 2018 for £145m.
Barcelona signed Dembele five months before Coutinho. They paid £96million to Borussia Dortmund with an additional £35million in add-on payments. His wages are, like Coutinho’s, around 12m euros and he has since played just eight full 90-minute games in two-and-a-half seasons.
He has suffered 10 injuries since joining the club from Dortmund where he had few fitness problems. Barcelona coach Quique Setien believes if the injury problems can be solved he can recuperate the second biggest signing in Barcelona’s history but the club’s priority is reducing its wage bill in the face of the coronavirus pandemic crisis and the loan option is being seriously considered.
The club feel they have no alternative but to try to set deals in place before the end of this truncated season because of financial pressure created by the interruption of the campaign and the likelihood that they will have no spectators inside the Camp Nou until next year.
The problem will be in finding the right loan club. El Mundo Deportivo speculated on Monday that Juventus had asked after the 23-year-old. And on the same day Diario Sport reported that Paris Saint Germain have an interest.
Both scenarios would be ideal because Barcelona want Juventus midfielder Pjanic and still cling to faint hopes of signing Neymar. But the rumoured interest is likely to be optimistic on Barcelona’s part. Weaving a Dembele loan into either deal would solve some of the club’s problems but both Juventus and PSG will take some convincing even on loan terms to gamble on Dembele turning his career around.