Manchester United are ‘sounding out’ Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele as a potential alternative target to Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, although the latter continues to be the Old Trafford’s club preferred option this summer.
Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc publicly remarked earlier this week that the Bundesliga side are planning for Sancho to be part of their squad next season, a decision he claimed to be ‘final’.
It has since been confirmed to 90min that United are paying little attention to those comments and are keen to carry on negotiating a deal for Sancho. It is worth noting that Zorc said similar in the past about Dembele ahead of his 2017 move to Barcelona, as well as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Sancho himself is disappointed with Dortmund’s public stance, having already made it clear to the club that he sees his future at Old Trafford. He was initially hopeful of securing an amicable exit.
Yet despite their determination to sign him, United also consider Dortmund’s €120m valuation to be excessive in the current global crisis. As such, other back-up options are being discussed and Kingsley Coman and Douglas Costa are two alternatives who have already been linked.
Now, ESPN reports that ‘informal talks’ have been held over Barcelona’s Dembele. The Catalans are said to be open to offers for the player they signed from Dortmund for a fee rising to €145m in 2017 and initial discussions have covered a season-long loan and obligation to buy.
It is important to note that no formal approach or bid has been made.
Were United to give up on Sancho, which is far from the case at this moment in time, pursuing Dembele might be considered a risk. Despite the Frenchman’s obvious talent and ability, his long-term struggles with muscle injuries is worrying.
Dembele has only played 74 times for Barcelona in three years and missed much of the 2017/18 and 2019/20 seasons because of injury. He has not played for the club since November because of his latest problem and underwent surgery on a hamstring in February.