Ousmane Dembele’s refusal to sign a new contract at Barcelona scuppered a potential loan move to Manchester United before the transfer window deadline.
Dembele was strongly linked with a loan move to the Premier League after falling out-of-favour at the Camp Nou, the winger having been hit by a succession of injury problems since making the move to Spain three years ago.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had considered a move for the France international as he sought alternatives to number one transfer target Jadon Sancho, the Red Devils approaching Barcelona about a loan deal despite the Spaniard’s initial demands for a permanent transfer worth in the region of £60m.
Dembele’s concerning injury record saw United view a loan arrangement as a fairly risk-free deal and Barcelona opened up to the possibility of an agreement similar to that of Phillipe Coutinho’s switch to Bayern Munich last season, the player signing a new deal before heading out for a loan fee with his entire wages paid in full.
The 23-year-old has just two years remaining on his current contract and Barcelona were keen to protect the player’s value by handing him an extension, aware of the possibility Dembele could return from an impressive season’s loan with just a year on his deal.
According to the Mail, an unsettled Dembele refused to sign a new deal and will now look to once again force an exit in the winter window, though it remains to be seen whether there will be any takers for a player who started just three league fixtures last season.