ESPN reports that Barcelona has identified Wolverhampton Wanderers forward Adama Traore as a replacement for the embattled Ousmane Dembele.
The news outlet goes on to report that the club will go after Traore if Dembele does not sign a new contract at the club.
Dembele and Barcelona have been embroiled in a transfer battle leading to the club, through its technical director Mateu Alemany to announce to the world that Dembele has been given an ultimatum to leave the club by the end of the transfer window or face ostracism.
This elicited a response from the Frenchman via his Instagram page. Dembele, who has never been a big social media person posted a lengthy message where he claimed he was being blackmailed by several characters concerning his Barcelona future, and assured followers that his agent is on the case.
The 24-year-old’s agent, Moussa Sissoko, has since reinitiated discussions with Barcelona but there seems to have been no progress with the ultimatum deadline drawing near.
ESPN now claims that Barcelona is lining up former La Masia talent Traore as the Frenchman’s replacement should the ultimatum elapse. Traore is a target of Tottenham Hotspur who have reportedly tabled a bid before Wolves – that is being considered – to take the Spanish international from Molineux to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.
Barcelona is in a financial crisis and have to reduce their wage cao in order to secure much needed funds to run the club. However, Dembele holds the key to a successful January window for the club.
The club plans to take the money for Dembele and inject it back into their window if he chooses to leave, or to spread out the remaining amortisation payments on his transfer fee from Borussia Dortmund and backload his salary to make room on their wage bill.
Manager Xavi Hernandez asked for reinforcements in attack following another unfortunate injury to Ansu Fati, which also led to the club identifying Traore as a possible replacement.
The former Aston Villa forward has 18 months left on his contract and Wolves are ready to cash in on the player who reportedly is looking for an exit from the club.
A move away from the Camp Nou may benefit Dembele, however, as Spanish outlet Marca reports that Xavi is all but done with the player.
The meeting between Dembele’s agent Sissoko and the club on Tuesday, January 25 reportedly ended in Xavi telling the 24-year-old’s agent to look for an exit for his client if they cannot accept the club’s demands.
Dembele and his agent are demanding a big payout on the new contract Barcelona are offering and the Catalan club is unwilling to renege on their already existing offer to the Frenchman. Xavi told Sissoko, according to Marca, that the club would prefer Dembele extends his stay at the Camp Nou and if the offer doesn’t work for the Frenchman, then his time at Barcelona is up.
With Sissoko still pushing for a big payout for his client, an exit may eventually be on the cards for Dembele as the club begins to plan for life without their second most expensive signing.