Transfer deadline day: Premier League round-up
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Barcelona think that Ousmane Dembele’s agent has been speaking to Manchester United and Liverpool amid protracted contract negotiations, according to reports in Spain. Dembele’s current contract is set to expire in June and his future is currently up in the air, despite Barca offering him a new deal.
The winger has been plagued by injuries since his £135.5million (€147m) transfer from Borussia Dortmund in August 2017.
Four years ago Dembele was the second-most expensive player in the world, behind only Neymar, and had a €400m release clause in his contract.
But he has missed 95 matches for Barcelona due to injury, with hamstring problems recurring time and again.
Dembele picked up his latest injury while playing for France at Euro 2020 and underwent knee surgery in June.
He is expected to return to action after the international break, but he has been making headlines without playing.
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That is because his future has been the subject of intense speculation – and it is his agent, Moussa Sissoko, who has caught the attention of the media in Spain today.
Cuatro reports that although Barcelona have agreed a contract extension in principle with Dembele, the deal is yet to be signed and they are now having worries.
That is because Barca believe that Sissoko is negotiating behind their backs with other clubs, including Liverpool, Manchester United, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.
Both Barca president Joan Laporta and vice-president Rafael Yuste remain optimistic Dembele will sign an extension, but there is ‘uneasiness’ behind the scenes.
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Meanwhile, Mundo Deportivo reports that Liverpool are keeping a close eye on Dembele’s situation.
Jurgen Klopp reportedly has ‘a crush’ on the 24-year-old and feels he could be the man to reinvigorate the club’s attack.
Liverpool are sure to be on the lookout for new attackers in 2022, with fresh blood needed to supplement Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota.
Firmino is now 30, while Salah and Mane are both 29, and the contracts of all three forwards are currently set to expire in June 2023.
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The departure of Xherdan Shaqiri to Lyon in the summer left Klopp slightly short of back-up players, with Divock Origi the only established option available.
Despite his injury problems, Dembele has contributed 30 goals and 21 assists in 118 games for Barcelona.
Barcelona’s financial problems have been well publicised in recent months, but having got both Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann off the wage bill, they have been able to offer Dembele a new contract.
Only time will tell whether he intends to sign it, or if his agent’s activity is a sign that he wants to join a new club next year.
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