Borussia Dortmund appear to have ruled out a move for United’s first-choice attacking target, Jadon Sancho, 20, this summer and the Premier League giants have been forced to scour the market for alternatives despite agreeing personal terms with the England winger.
Dembele has struggled for form and fitness since swapping Dortmund for the Nou Camp back in 2017 and the Red Devils have identified the 23-year-old forward as an possible back-up option to Sancho with just less than two weeks remaining of the summer transfer window.
According to Duncan Castles of Record Sport, senior United officials, including executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, have begun a dialogue with Barcelona to gauge Dembele’s potential availability.
The report claims Barca are open to sanctioning a temporary move for the Frenchman before next month’s transfer deadline – but only if an obligatory purchase option is included in the agreement.
The La Liga outfit are demanding a fee of €100million (£92m) from clubs wanting to sign Dembele outright this summer.
But, despite a frustrating three-year stay at Barcelona, Dembele is determined to fight for his place under Ronald Koeman and would prefer to remain in Catalonia as it stands.
In the wake of United’s 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, Luke Shaw conceded that United were still a few players short after bringing in just one addition in Donny van de Beek this summer.
‘We have a very good group, but personally I think we need more players to strengthen the squad,’ the United and England left-back told TV2.
‘It can give us a boost. When you look around at how other teams are strengthening their teams, then we must also do it to keep up with the others.’
Shaw continued: ‘Possibly everything went wrong.
‘Personally, from my point of view, the pre-season that we’ve had altogether is not the correct way it should have been. We’ve had a week all together.
‘My first day back training: I could have probably counted on one hand the number of people who were training. We have only been back a week all together.
‘Look at teams who have been together a while, training, playing games. I think Palace have played quite a few more games than us and it showed tonight. We lacked that fitness and confidence.
‘We haven’t been able to prepare in the way that we wanted and that’s not an excuse because we have the quality of players to be able to win games like this but we weren’t up to it tonight and we’ve been punished. It’s the start of a new season, we should have been fresh.
‘We’re back in training tomorrow. A lot of things were said after the game and we need to put it to bed tonight. We need to be very disappointed because we should be, but forget about it tomorrow and move on tomorrow. Training tomorrow and we’ve got a big game on Tuesday.
‘We need to win that and pick up momentum again. At the start of the season it’s always key to how the season will go ahead.’