Ousmane Dembele has been told to look for clubs who could be willing to take him in January, after failing to carve out a role as a regular starter since his move to Barcelona just over a year ago.
The young French forward started just 12 games last season due to a mixture of injury and form concerns and, although he has started this season a little more brightly, manager Ernesto Valverde still seems reluctant to trust him in big games.
Spanish radio station RAC1 (via Mundo Deportivo) report that the 21-year-old was instructed to look for a January move last week, before being left on the bench to start Sunday’s Clásico – although he shone in his 15-minute cameo, providing an assist for Arturo Vidal.
One possible option for Dembele and Barca is a part-exchange swap deal with Paris Saint-Germain to facilitate a return to Catalonia for Neymar, whose departure triggered Dembele’s purchase last summer.
The Brazil star is reportedly unhappy in Paris, particularly with the emergence of Kylian Mbappe pushing him out of the limelight. Barcelona don’t have the liquid cash to make a play for Mbappe without including at least one high-profile player in the deal though, and Dembele fits the profile better than anybody else in their squad.
Dembele has now been benched for arguably Barcelona’s three most difficult games of the season – coming on for cameos at home to Real Madrid and away to Valencia, and not even making it off the bench in a 4-2 win away at Tottenham in the Champions League.
Arsenal could be among the suitors should Dembele become available, with the Gunners on ‘high alert’, according to football.london. Unai Emery’s side were reportedly interested in the €105m forward during the summer, but the links ultimately came to nothing.