Reported Arsenal target Ousmane Dembele has reportedly been given a price tag of £52million – a huge knockdown from the reported £97million it cost to take him to the Camp Nou.
The 22-year-old joined Barca in the summer of 2017 from Borussia Dortmund for a €105million (£97million) fee plus add-ons, and arrived in Catalonia to much fanfare.
Dembele has made 74 competitive appearances for Barca, registering 19 goals and 17 assists.
However, his time at the Blaugrana has been hampered by injuries, with 2019-20 seeing him make just nine appearances in all competitions.
According a report by Spanish outlet Sport at the end of March, Dembele reportedly wants a move to the Premier League, with the Gunners and Liverpool expressing their interest.
However, Marca claims that, due to the economic uncertainty in football due to the global health crisis combined with Dembele’s injury record, Barca are only after €60million (£52million) – but are still struggling to find a buyer.
Despite Dembele’s injury issues, there is no doubting his quality, which has the Messi seal of approval, his teammate selecting him in his 15 “youth on the rise” players for Topps Champions League cards.
“His pace is frightening in training”, read the Dembele card, as quoted by Give Me Sport.
It’s not the first time Messi has praised his young teammate.
“On the pitch he’s a phenomenon. It’s up to him where he ends up, he could be one of the best,” Messi is quoted by Sport as saying in December 2018. “He’s young and he is adapting.”
It’s a tricky choice for Arsenal.
On one hand, Dembele is a young player whose talent and credentials all point to a superstar in the making, a versatile attacker who has received plaudits by the truckload.
On the other, his injury record is somewhat concerning, and 74 competitive appearances in just under three years, no matter the reason, seems a risk considering how much he could go for.
Dembele would no doubt be a worthy addition for Arteta, especially given his lowered price tag.
However, the Gunners must still do their due diligence in terms of his fitness record – and how much game time they can get out of him – going forward.