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Manchester United and Chelsea monitoring Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele’s contract standoff

3 min read
Manchester United and Chelsea monitoring Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele's contract standoff
The Catalan club have issued the winger with an ultimatum over his future (Picture: Getty)

Premier League rivals Manchester United and Chelsea are both keeping tabs on Ousmane Dembele’s contract standoff with Barcelona and could make a move for the winger, according to reports.

The World Cup winner was heavily linked with a move away from Camp Nou last summer, with Ronald Koeman keen to bring in Lyon attacker and countryman Memphis Depay as his replacement.

But Dembele has shown signs of a return to form, playing well against Athletic Bilbao recently and netting against Cornella, with the Frenchman finally getting a consistent, injury-free run in the team.

Ousmane Dembele FC Barcelona v Athletic Club - Supercopa de Espana Final
Dembele is playing some of his best football since joining Barcelona (Picture: Getty)

He has netted three times and assisted twice in just four Champions League outings, while he has two La Liga goals – averaging a goal contribution every 107 minutes across the two competitions.

According to Sport, Barcelona are very encouraged by Dembele’s recent displays, but his contract situation means they could be forced to offload him.

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The 23-year-old’s contract expires in 2022, meaning he has just 18 months left to run on his deal, and Barca have made it clear that they will need to sell him if he will not commit to fresh terms.

Dembele will be free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with other clubs in just a years’ time and Barca do not want to risk losing a player they spent £135million on for nothing.

Although the former Dortmund man has failed to live up to that enormous price tag, he still has plenty of suitors with Sport claiming that both Manchester United and Chelsea are keeping informed of the situation.

United were heavily linked with Dembele over the summer and he was seen as a cheaper alternative to Jadon Sancho to solve their problematic right-wing position.

Dembele was reluctant to leave Camp Nou just a few months ago, but, due to the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis, Barca are not in a position to offer improved terms and would benefit from any transfer fee they can recoup for the winger.

Ousmane Dembele Real Sociedad v FC Barcelona - Spanish Super Cup
Dembele can begin negotiating a pre-contract agreement in a years’ time (Picture: Getty)

Both the player and the club’s preference would be for Dembele to renew, particularly if his performances continue to improve, but United and Chelsea – as well as Juventus and Bayern – are prepared to jump in if the contract standoff reaches an impasse.

Last summer, Barca were believed to have dropped their asking price to just £37million and would expect similar this time around, though Dembele’s suitors may be more tempted to try and pick him up on a free transfer just a few months later.

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