Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman wants Ousmane Dembele to remain at the Nou Camp as speculation continues to link Manchester United with a summer move for the France star.
Dembele’s future is back in the spotlight with the winger having little over a year remaining on his current deal amid talk that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants him at Old Trafford next season.
United were said to be in talks of a season-long loan deal for the ex-Dortmund ace last summer, but Koeman reportedly put the brakes on the move in order to keep him with the Catalans.
Dembele’s form this season has been impressive, which seems to have put him in the driving seat when it comes to contract negotiations, but there is a feeling that Barcelona’s financial problems may lead them to cash in.
Koeman said he is eager for the 23-year-old to remain in Spain but hinted the decision may be taken out his hands.
According to Marca, Koeman said after Monday’s victory over Real Valladolid: “I would like Dembele to stay, he is an important player for us.
“He has shown that with his game and the goal.
“Ousmane’s development this season has been really good.
“Physically, he’s improved a lot; I think that’s been the key to his quality and consistency to play so many games. So, yes, if it’s up to me, I would like him to stay with us.”
United are believed to have turned their attention to Dembele after they were heavily linked with a move for Dortmund star Jadon Sancho last summer.
According to reports, United refused to meet Dortmund’s £108million asking price before securing a deal for teenager Amad Diallo who moved to Old Trafford from Atalanta in a deal worth up to £37m.
But it is claimed that Solskajer remains keen on luring a winger to Old Trafford this summer and there has been continued talk that United will put Sancho on their wish list once again.
They will have received encouragement following comments from Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke, who has refused to rule out Sancho leaving the club once the transfer window reopens.
Sign up to our free United newsletter
Get the latest breaking Manchester United transfer news and analysis every day direct to your inbox with our free MUFC newsletter
“I’m not getting involved in probabilities, it’s no good,” he said.
“Jadon Sancho has been with us much longer than Erling Haaland. We’ll have to speak to Jadon too. If there is an exceptional offer, we will discuss it with the player and the agent, as always.
“Nonetheless, I am very sure that the transfer market will only run to a very limited extent this summer.
“Especially at the very big clubs, you can see what kind of wounds coronavirus has inflicted – and they are not small ones that heal within two weeks.”