Chelsea close to complete first summer transfer signing of Barcelona high-rated winger
Chelsea are interested in signing Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele this summer, but the process may be more complicated than expected. During his time as coach of Borussia Dortmund, Thomas Tuchel collaborated with the Frenchman.
However, Dembele’s exorbitant wage at Barcelona and following salary expectations are a huge stumbling block. The 25-year-old, who joined Barcelona for £135 million in 2017, is said to have requested a salary of £36.3 million at Camp Nou, plus £4.2 million for winning the Champions League and £1.6 million for each La Liga championship won.
His £200 million transfer from Dortmund to Paris Saint-Germain in the same year was the second most expensive of all time. After initially carrying a £369 million release clause, he is likely to become a free agent this summer.
Barcelona’s contract negotiations with the winger hit a snag earlier this year when it was revealed that the Spanish giants were interested in signing Dortmund’s Erling Haaland. Recently, though, Barca manager Xavi voiced his wish to keep Dembele at the club, and a proposition was made to the player to extend his stay in exchange for a wage drop.
“He wants to stay, but he is greatly tempted by alternative choices that provide better conditions,” Barca president Johan Laporta recently told Catalunya Radio on Dembele’s immediate future.
“The offer has been made for quite some time, and they (Dembele’s agents) have requested that we wait until the end of the season, which is next week.
“We’ve been waiting for an answer for a long time, but we can’t force it because Dembele’s contract is coming to an end. I like him as a coach. We’ve made a concerted effort to keep him.