Spanish news publication SPORT reports that Barcelona are prepared to cut their losses on Ousmane Dembele and will let him leave for between €50m and €60m.
The report suggests that although Dembele’s agents met with delegates from Barcelona, he is stalling on putting pen to paper on a contract with the La Liga giants. There is a feeling at the club that the winger wants to leave the club for free in 2022.
Obviously, this would be catastrophic for Ronald Koeman’s side as they are already in an awful position financially. SPORT claims that they will transfer list him for between €50m and €60m if he doesn’t agree to sign a new contract.
Earlier this month, Liverpool were named by SPORT as one of the sides interested in the forward. Dating back to September 2020, Fabrizio Romano claimed that talks had been opened with Dembele but he ultimately rejected the Red Devils.
Liverpool’s forwards have been awful this season with the exception of the brilliant Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian has scored 36% of the Reds’ Premier League goals this season and without him, the reigning Champions would likely be midtable.
Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have failed to reach the heights they have in previous seasons while Diogo Jota is out of form. Rest and pre-season this summer will do them the world of good but Jürgen Klopp will be assessing his options in the transfer window as well.
Signing the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland would be amazing but it’s almost certainly off the cards due to their astronomical transfer fees.
Ousmane Dembele, however, could be the cut-price stop-gap option that plugs a hole for Klopp until the aforementioned duo is available at cheaper prices.
Signing Dembele comes with inherent risks. His injury record is shocking and his talent doesn’t necessarily outweigh that risk but it does come with a high upside due to his exceptional talent.
However, in the 2020/21 season, he has had much better luck with his body. Just the one hamstring tweak has seen him play 39 games in all competitions so far this term and he has contributed 10 goals and four assists.
Admittedly, this is still rather low for a player with a reported €60m price tag but if there’s a manager in world football that can get the most out of Dembele it’s Klopp. His work with Lewandowski, Reus, Salah and Mane is the CV of a world-class man-manager.
Dembele is über talented and this is talent that Klopp can nurture. He’s still only 23 so it’s not as though injury has sapped the best playing days of his career as he has at least six or seven years left at the top level.
One of Dembele’s main strengths is his ambidexterity and the fluidity this lends to his game. With his ability to play on either flank with either foot with equal impact would add a hitherto unseen dynamic to the Liverpool front three.
It remains to be seen if Liverpool will be prepared to take a €60m risk on Dembele but it might be worth it when you consider what Klopp could do with the former Borussia Dortmund high-flyer.