Arsenal have a chance to hijack a deal for Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele – and finally bring a much-coveted star to the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners have been linked with a move for the World Cup winner ever since he burst through as a teenager at Rennes, eventually moving to Borussia Dortmund for a season where he emerged as one of the most exciting talents in world football. Barcelona has been a difficult oeuvre for Dembele, following a move over €100 million – and the Frenchman now looks to end his Camp Nou journey this summer when his contract expires.
And long-time admirers Arsenal may well be best placed to acquire him as their replacement for record signing Nicolas Pepe. If they do so, they will be the envy of Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea, who have all at one stage or another sought the option of snaring Dembele for themselves.
According to football.london, Manchester United have offered Dembele a salary of around £12m a year to move to Old Trafford – but they are far from the only side interested in his services.
Arsenal have thrown their hat in the ring and have already spoken to Dembele's agent. With the Gunners having previous of signing unwanted stars from the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid only to turn them into top Premier League players – see Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil – Mikel Arteta could well return to a well-versed model that was used under Arsene Wenger.
Dembele could play on either wing for the Gunners and provide much needed depth and quality alongside the likes of Bukayo Saka.
The deal certainly feels like a long shot, however.
While Arteta is well poised to make the offer, should Arsenal consider Dembele feasible to sign, the wages would be extremely expensive for a player who would not have an obvious place in the side. The Frenchman has consistently denied speculation that he could move to the Emirates Stadium in the past and with the Gunners wishing to strengthen elsewhere, they may not see a high-risk, injury-prone winger as the priority.
The 24-year-old is valued at £27m by Transfermarkt.
More Arsenal stories
The rumour mill is going into overdrive over who Arsenal will bring in to fill the centre-forward spot in the team next season. Tammy Abraham has been heavily linked since last summer with those whispers refusing to go away, Ivan Toney has entered the frame as an option, while "the new Thierry Henry" has been touted.
Gabriel Jesus is a big rumour doing the rounds right now, as is Darwin Nunez, who Manchester United are reportedly closer to signing. One Brazilian wonderkid is also apparently in talks.
Elsewhere at the Emirates, Mikel Arteta has spoken openly over his doubts taking the Gunners job and Vagner Love has chatted exclusively to FFT about the move to Arsenal under Wenger that very nearly happened for him in the noughties.
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. Over his time on the brand, he has interviewed the likes of Aaron Ramsdale and Jack Wilshere, written pieces ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career, and has been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals, working for FFT.
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