Ousmane Dembele is ignoring Barcelona’s attempts to renew his contract with the La Liga giants aware transfer talks have already opened with Newcastle United, as reported by Sport.
It’s safe to say Saturday’s performance at Selhurst Park – bullied by Christian Benteke’s Crystal Palace but dragged back from the brink by Callum Wilson’s acrobatics – wasn’t what the new owners will want to witness come January.
But while the new-look Magpies may go on to make Roman Abramovich resemble a pauper, the current Newcastle side is still one built on a shoestring budget with its current position of 19th, on balance, about right.
January really can’t come soon enough.
Newcastle won’t have to break the bank for Ousmane Dembele
And while Newcastle won’t break the bank this winter – they are expected to be limited to a spend of about £50 million – that should still be enough to secure the services of a player who, as recently as 2017, was the second-most expensive footballer in history.
Last week FootMercato reported Newcastle had entered talks over a deal that would see Dembele swap Camp Nou for St James’ Park.
The France international, who will become a free agent in July, has reportedly been offered a staggering £245,000 a week at Newcastle – far more than cash-strapped Barcelona can afford these days.
And while we are yet to be convinced about the legitimacy of those wage claims – there will be plenty of opportunist agents spinning tall tales – reports linking Dembele with a move to Tyneside have appeared in a number of different sources in different countries.
Read into that what you will.
Sport claims Barcelona are fully aware of Dembele’s negotiations with the Premier League club.
What’s more, the former Borussia Dortmund winger, who set the Catalans back an initial £96 million four years ago, is resisting Barca’s attempts to extend his current contract with just nine months to go until he enters free agency.
Perhaps there’s more than a grain of truth in this after all…