Chelsea are still interested in signing Ousmane Dembele amid claims Barcelona could terminate the winger’s contract.
Dembele was thought to be close to a move to Paris Saint-Germain on deadline day before the deal fell through, and Chelsea were among a host of Premier League clubs linked with the former Borussia Dortmund star.
The 24-year-old’s Barcelona contract is up in the summer, when he will be available on a free transfer, and Sky Sports claim Thomas Tuchel’s side are looking into securing a pre-contract agreement.
The report confirms Chelsea’s interest in a deadline day deal, but a lack of time and financial obstacles scuppered the late move.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta – who set an asking price of £18million – revealed that the club did receive an offer from a Premier League club.
“Various solutions have been proposed,” Laporta told Mundo Deportivo. “The last one depends on whether the player accepts it, it is to go to an English club.”
It’s not clear whether it was Chelsea who made the late bid and Dembele remains a Barcelona player for now.
But the Catalans are desperate to get his £210,000 a week wages off their books.
One move that would suit both Barcelona and Chelsea is termination of his contract. That’s the plan according to Sport journalist Albert Roge.
Presumably Dembele would have to agree to tearing up the final six months of his deal, but it would allow him to become a free agent immediately.
That would allow Chelsea to bring Dembele into their squad before the summer, but Dembele would likely have to alter his salary demands.
Dembele has endured an injury-hit season at Barcelona this term, scoring has just one goal in 11 appearances.
But Chelsea will be an attractive proposition for Dembele, as he will have the opportunity of teaming up with former boss Tuchel, who worked with him at Dortmund.
Earlier in the window, Tuchel discussed Dembele’s situation at Barcelona and revealed his admiration for the player he worked with for a season in Germany.
“I have no idea about his situation with Barca,’ said the Chelsea manager.
“He is a very good player when he is in good shape. I was very lucky to train him at Dortmund. It only lasted a year but I wish it had been longer. I left and so did he.”