Ronald Koeman revealed that Manchester United transfer target Ousmane Dembele’s absence against Celta Vigo was purely a tactical decision amid mounting speculation the Barcelona winger is set for a loan move to Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is prepared to reluctantly abandon hope of signing Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund this summer, with the Bundesliga side refusing to sanction his departure this summer or lower their £108million asking price.
The United manager is desperate to bolster his attacking options with Daniel James his only option as backup to the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood in the wide positions.
Dembele’s talent is unquestionable, but he has failed to settle at Camp Nou following his move three years ago with his progress stunted by a number of muscular injuries and disciplinary breaches.
Koeman is hopeful of signing his Dutch compatriot Memphis Depay before next week’s deadline and shedding Dembele’s salary from the wage bill would aid that cause significantly.
The 23-year-old was an unused substitute last night as Barcelona cantered to a 3-0 victory last night and asked about Dembele’s absence, Koeman said: ‘I think Pedri and Trincao can contribute more defensively than Dembele can, that’s why they played.’
Solskjaer, meanwhile, has made just one signing so far this summer in the shape of Ajax’s Donny van de Beek and appears likely, at this stage, to miss out on filling the gaping holes that exist in this squad.
Asked about the likelihood of new arrivals ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match against Tottenham, he said: ‘Well, I’m not gonna go into the transfer window now, of course all my focus is on Sunday’s game.
‘The club’s always working hard to have as strong as possible a squad and if something happens in or out you’ll get to know.’