MANCHESTER UNITED have opened talks with Barcelona and Ousmane Dembele over a season-long loan move to Old Trafford.
United are struggling to get the deal for Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund over the line so are now taking positive steps to get a deal done for Dembele.
Talks with Barca progressed on Wednesday as hopes faded of getting No1 target Sancho before Monday’s transfer deadline.
United have had a deal on the table for some months now for Sancho for £70million up front rising to £100m which Dortmund have rejected.
There has been no new bid so far this week.
Dembele, 23, was regarded as one of the most exciting wingers in the world when he joined Barcelona in a club-record £95.8m move from Dortmund in 2017.
The French international – who began his career at Rennes – had last season wrecked by two hamstring injuries, the second of which required surgery.
He has not started a game since last November although he made a substitute appearance in Barcelona’s opening game of the season.
He was in Ronald Koeman’s bad books on Monday of this week, though, after he turned up 15 minutes late for training.
He also turned up late for a game against Real Betis back in December 2018.
Former United midfielder Darren Fletcher believes the move could be a risk but still bring it’s rewards for both parties.
Fletcher said: “It suggests that they are moving on from Jadon Sancho.
“I think Ousmane Dembele’s a right winger, a position they are finally identifying.
“It comes with its risks – his injury record is not great over the last few seasons – I think he only made five league appearances last season, but he’s a talented player.
“Barcelona purchased him for £100m or something like that.
“I think a loan deal would suit United, and probably both parties…
“I think he needs a fresh challenge, coming to a massive club like Manchester United.
“It’s a chance to showcase himself, get opportunities, get fit and potentially look for a transfer down the line.
“But I wouldn’t say they’ve got to sign him because of his injury record, and he has tendencies to be late a lot of the time judging by reports.
“United should give him the opportunity to showcase himself and be the player everyone thought he was going to become.”