Manchester City have been tipped to ask for Ousmane Dembele in return if Barcelona go ahead with an approach for Raheem Sterling in the January transfer window.
Barcelona’s finances have crippled them over the last 12 months. The club has just announced a €481m loss for the 2020/21 season, while a report commissioned in March when the current board of directors assumed control concluded that the club had reached a point of ‘technical bankruptcy’.
Cost saving measures saw the squad stripped of expensive assets ahead of this season, including Lionel Messi, while net debt and bank debt has climbed well north of €1bn.
Despite all of that, the Catalan press claimed earlier this week that the club believe they will have funds to operate in the January transfer window and are interested in Sterling, whose future at Manchester City has become uncertain as a result of mostly being a substitute this season.
Sterling is only under contract at the Etihad Stadium until the end of next season and now, soon to turn 27, might be the time for both he and the club to consider the future. 90min revealed in August that the player, while not actively looking to leave, has been hesitant to commit his future to City.
Catalan publication El Nacional has claimed that City would be interested in Demebele if an opportunity arises to include the Frenchman to make a sale more worthwhile to them.
Whether that idea has been planted simply because Barcelona are unlikely to have the liquid cash to make a straight offer for Sterling is not exactly clear.
Dembele is yet to play this season after undergoing knee surgery in June and has been plagued by muscle injuries throughout his time at Camp Nou since 2017.