Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has played down the chances of Ousmane Dembele moving to Manchester United before the window closes and says he is counting on the winger.
Reports emerged in Spain on Tuesday claiming United have been working on a deal to bring the World Cup winner to Old Trafford, either on an initial loan or in a permanent deal worth £50million.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been desperate to add a new right winger to his squad this summer and with talks for Jadon Sancho at a complete standstill, they are now eyeing Dembele as a cheaper alternative.
The Frenchman has failed to live up to his enormous price tag at Camp Nou and did not make Koeman’s starting XI for the first game of the new Liga season against Villarreal.
However, Koeman insists he does see a place for Dembele in his squad, though he did admit that any decision over a transfer would be up to the player and the club.
Asked about the rumours surrounding the winger’s future, Koeman told reporters: ‘Dembele’s situation? I’m counting on him.
‘He was very good in the first weeks [of pre-season] but he had a downturn last week.
‘He trained well today and I’m counting on him. But these are decisions for the club and the player.’
On why Dembele did not get in the side that beat Villarreal, he added: ‘Dembele did not start the last game because Ansu Fati has proved to be a very good player, and he will have to wait for his moment.’
Barcelona are still looking to make new signings but are hamstrung by their financial restrictions, which is why Dembele could be offloaded to raise funds for reinforcements.
Koeman added: ‘We know that the club have financial limitations. We’re working to strengthen ourselves in two or three positions. Everything is very insecure. If no-one arrives, I have no complaints about the players we have.’
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