Barcelona and AC Milan in negotiations over permanent transfer of €20m defender
AC Milan have entered into negotiations with FC Barcelona for the permanent signing of on-loan defender Sergino Dest, reports AS.
The 22-year-old right-back joined Barcelona in the summer of 2019 from AFC Ajax, but endured a couple of middling campaigns at Camp Nou. With manager Xavi Hernandez not seeing him as a part of his plans, Dest was allowed to join AC Milan on loan in the summer.
As part of the agreement, the Rossoneri also retained the option of making his transfer permanent later this year for a fee of €20 million ($21 million).
While Dest started out slowly in Italy, the USMNT ace made a good impression during the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar and has shown some improvement with Milan since then.
The 22-year-old has played a total of 13 matches (545 minutes) across all competitions for the reigning Serie A champions, but is yet to score or assist a goal.
Despite that, Milan see the young full-back as a solid backup option and are interested in making his transfer permanent. However, they are said to be unwilling to pay the €20 million fee to sign him on a full-time basis in the summer.
It has been reported in Spain that Barcelona would be reluctant to offer any discounts to Milan in the Dest deal.
However, the report from AS claims that since the Catalans do not wish to see him back at the club next summer, they would be willing to negotiate a lower fee with Milan to offload him permanently.
Hence, both clubs are now ready to sit down and discuss the permanent transfer of Dest for a price lower than the €20 million that was agreed upon as part of the loan deal.
Barcelona, for their part, are planning to invest heavily in at least one new right-back next summer, with Hector Bellerin also likely to depart. So, it would make sense for them to get rid of Dest permanently.