Man Utd: Do club care more about sponsors than cups?
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Manchester United have already set the wheels in motion ahead of a summer approach for Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele, according to reports. The 23-year-old’s immediate future appears to be uncertain, with his contract set to expire at the end of next season.
The situation leaves Barca with a dilemma over whether to cash in on Dembele during the summer in order to avoid losing him for nothing in a year’s time if he fails to agree fresh terms.
The Frenchman is hugely admired by new club president Joan Laporta, who is said to be keen on tying him down for the foreseeable future with the offer of a new contract.
Until then, questions will hang over Dembele’s head with regards to his future ahead of next season.
A number of clubs have been linked with his services, including Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, but United appear to be near the front of the queue with the summer transfer window rapidly approaching.
The Red Devils are among the sides ‘moving the most’ in the race for Dembele, according to Mundo Deportivo.
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The report claims that United have been enjoying ‘fluid contact’ with the player’s representatives after keeping a close eye on his development over the last few months.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in the market for attacking reinforcements ahead of next season with veteran striker Edinson Cavani expected to leave the club in the summer upon the expiry of his one-year contract.
United have a long-standing interest in Dembele and tried to sign him on loan with a view to a permanent move last summer, but were ultimately unsuccessful in their efforts with Ronald Koeman’s desire to keep the winger at Barca pouring cold water on any hopes of a deal.
New United transfer chief Matt Judge is likely to face stiff competition for his signature in the coming months, with Liverpool keeping tabs on a variety of attacking options ahead of a renewed Premier League title bid next season.
It is claimed that any one of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah could be sold in the summer in order to make way for Dembele if the opportunity becomes available.
Meanwhile, Juventus are also keen admirers and have, like United, already taken the extra step of establishing contact with his agent.
The Italian giants have successfully worked with Barca in the transfer market on a number of recent occasions and could also pose a serious threat to United’s hopes of landing Dembele this summer.
He has started for Barca in 14 of their 28 La Liga matches this season, chipping in with four goals and two assists in the process.
Koeman suggested earlier this year that Dembele is more than satisfied with his current situation at Barca, but it remains to be seen whether the club’s resolve will be tested ahead of next season.
“Physically, Ousmane Dembele has improved a lot and I have no doubt about his quality as a player,” Koeman told reporters in January.
“I don’t know how he was in the past. He’s great, good one against one, and adds a lot of depth to our game.
“I love this player, and now he’s very happy, which is very nice.”
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