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Ousmane Dembele’s PSG move was key to Barcelona completing deadline day signing – report

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Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images

It was always one of Barcelona’s primary objectives to bring in a new right-back this summer. After all, the club have failed to recruit a stable option to cover the defensive position since Dani Alves’ departure from Catalonia.

The Blaugrana initially eyed Real Valladolid’s rising star, Ivan Fresneda this summer. Newly appointed sporting director, Deco, was a big fan of the player and was pushing for the club to sign the Spaniard.

In the end, Xavi Hernandez’s side completed the signing of a much more experienced option in Joao Cancelo. And, according to reports from The Athletic, Ousmane Dembele’s departure was the key factor that helped the Portuguese defender’s arrival.

A financial mess

Barcelona’s choice of Fresneda, apart from his age and high potential, was linked to his low market value.

It is no secret that Joan Laporta’s club have been battling an economic mess in recent years. With little money to spend, Fresneda appeared the best option on their table.

Everything, The Athletic adds, was in place for Fresneda’s arrival. Deco had arrived at a proposal including a € 10 million fixed fee for the 18-year-old right-back and was prepared to present the offer.

The fateful night

Everything fell apart the night Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-0 in the United States. On what should have been a day of celebration for Laporta, news of PSG activating Dembele’s release clause came in.

In the frenzy that ensued, the Catalans shut talks with Real Valladolid. After all, Dembele’s departure opened up significant space on the club’s wage bill.

Cancelo arrived on deadline day. (Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images)

The newfound space was enough for the Blaugranas to rope in Joao Cancelo, an option that could not even be considered had Dembele not left.

“Without Dembele leaving, there was simply no space on Barca’s wage bill to fit Cancelo. That’s why the club was going for Fresneda, apart from the fact that Deco is a big admirer of the player,” a club source told The Athletic.

Deadline day drama

Despite having an agreement with both Cancelo and Manchester City for over a week, the Catalans found themselves at a standstill.

With German investor Libero backing out in the final minute, they were unable to present La Liga with the required financial guarantee and create space on the FFP front.

The report goes on to state that the club had not directly negotiated with Manchester City throughout, with Jorge Mendes acting as the mediator. And an official offer was not sent until Thursday evening.

After a tumultuous week, Barcelona finally saw the move through late on deadline day with the help of a personal guarantee by Joan Laporta to La Liga. 

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