Ousmane Dembele’s contract situation has been a problematic issue for Barcelona. But his recent rejection of a new deal could end up proving advantageous for the Catalan giants.
The 24-year-old recently turned down the Blaugrana’s latest contract proposal, as he demanded a new deal worth an enormous €40 million per season wage. With the club in no position to meet those demands, an exit looks like a distinct possibility for the winger.
While it has been expected that the 24-year-old would run down his contract and move on at the end of the season, there could be a possibility that Barça get rid of the Frenchman in the ongoing transfer window itself.
A report from Liverpool Echo (h/t El Nacional) claims that Premier League bigwigs Liverpool have made Dembele a key target for the January window. They are set to lose both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane for the Africa Cup of Nations this month and need to reinforce their attacking unit.
Dembele’s contract situation allows the Reds to sign him at a cut-price fee. However, the report goes on to add that the Merseysiders may have an interesting proposal for Barcelona to consider. Instead of paying a transfer fee for the winger, Jurgen Klopp’s side are considering offering Naby Keita as part of a swap deal.
The Guinean midfielder has recently emerged as a transfer target for the Catalan outfit. And Liverpool are hoping to take advantage of the interest by offering him to Barça in order to facilitate a move for Dembele.
Keita has been with the Premier League heavyweights since 2018 when he arrived from RB Leipzig but has failed to live up to the potential he had shown. The 26-year-old will be entering the final year of his contract in the summer and is considered an expendable member of the squad, as per the report.
Valued at €30 million, the former RB Salzburg ace would add a different flavour to the Barcelona midfield. At the same time, the Catalans will be getting rid of Dembele’s massive wages, which could enable them to register new signing Ferran Torres.