Barcelona have three weeks left to find a replacement for Neymar and the club have wasted no time in establishing Ousmane Dembele as the preferred choice.
There is already contact between the 20-year-old Dortmund winger and Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez because they made a move for French international last summer … when he would only have cost them €15m from Stade Rennes.
This summer, after a good season in Germany, his price had rocketed to €90m. And now that Barça have the Neymar money, another €10m has been added – so it’s €100m (£90m) for talented prospect who has made seven appearances for his country scoring one goal.
That is not likely to put them off. Dembele is quick, two-footed and will be willing to work. He will have French team-mate Sami Umtiti to take care of him as he settles and he will cost Barcelona less than half the wages it would have taken to keep Neymar.
The problem will be Dortmund’s reluctance to sell. Barcelona could offer them Gerard Deulofeu to sweeten the deal but if they did that they would have to pay a penalty fee to Everton after buying the winger back from them this summer on the basis that they would not sell him in the first year.
If Dembele doesn’t come off there is a fascinating plan B – buy Angel Di Maria now and get Antoine Griezmann in a year’s time. In many ways Griezmann is the gold-plated option as the peruse the market for a new Neymar. If Neymar is number three in the world then Griezmann is 3.5. The problem is his buy-out clause.
It was set at 100m euros but has been bumped up to 200m for this year’s transfer window while Atletico Madrid are banned from registering new signings.
Credit: Daily Mail