Manchester United ‘step up’ interest in Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele

Manchester United remain interested in Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele and are ready to launch a bid for the Frenchman if he does not sign a new contract at Camp Nou.

Dembele was one of United’s preferred alternatives to Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho last summer, but an attempt to take the 23-year-old on a season-long loan was blocked by Barcelona, who remain keen to extend his contract.

Ousmane DembeleOusmane Dembele
Dembele declined a move to United last summer | David Ramos/Getty Images

His current deal expires in 2022, and talks over an extension have been dragging on for a while now, and Catlan outlet SPORT claim that United are watching the situation with growing interest.

The Red Devils are said to remain in touch with Dembele’s representatives and have made it clear that they intend to bid for the France winger if he does not sign a new contract. There’s no mention of what kind of fee they would be prepared to pay, but United are aware he has an expiring contract and would be happy to wait until 2022 to snap him up for free.

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United’s interest is a concern for Barcelona, who have watched Dembele produce the best form of his Blaugrana career in recent weeks.

Ronald KoemanRonald Koeman
Ronald Koeman wants to keep Dembele | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has instructed president Joan Laporta to thrash out a new contract with the winger, and Mundo Deportivo state that talks with the Frenchman have been moved right to the top of Barca’s to-do list.

Club officials believe that Dembele would prefer to stay with Barcelona. He has always spoken of his desire to start for the team, and now that he has shaken off his injury troubles, Dembele has commanded that spot in the team. Life is good.

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This one may come down to money. Barcelona are looking to reduce their wage bill this summer, with Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho both earmarked for an exit, but they now face the prospect of offering Dembele more money to fend off United.

Ousmane DembeleOusmane Dembele
Dembele has the starting role he has been looking for | Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

United would likely be prepared to match Dembele’s wage demands, but they may not shell out the kind of transfer fee needed.

Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, who comes with a £150m price tag, is towards the top of their wish list, while 90min revealed that United are keen to move for one of Sevilla’s Jules Kounde or Villarreal’s Pau Torres to address their needs at centre-back.

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With those kinds of targets in their sights, United won’t exactly have too much money left over to pursue other players, but this is definitely one to keep an eye on.

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