Ronald Koeman has promised Ousmane Dembele he will get playing time at Barcelona this season but has encouraged the controversial winger to confront him if he is unhappy.
The France international has failed to justify his price tag since moving to Camp Nou three years ago from Borussia Dortmund with a series of injuries and disciplinary breaches undermining his progress.
Dembele was an unused substitute in the midweek win over Celta Vigo with Koeman claiming the 23-year-old’s absence was purely down to tactical reasons after Barcelona had cantered to a 3-0 win away from home.
United had earmarked Jadon Sancho as their No.1 summer transfer target but have been unable to make progress in negotiations with Dortmund who have refused to lower their asking price.
Dembele has emerged as a possible alternative with United keen to explore the option of an initial loan, but Koeman insists there is still a place for the occasionally wayward winger in his squad, as long as he demonstrates the requisite application.
‘I can’t say much about Dembele, his presence depends on the rival and how he is in training. His future? I haven’t yet seriously spoken to him about that.
‘We look for intensity in training. We play like we train. We don’t go out on the pitch to rest
‘If a player is unhappy, let him speak to me. Ousmane has not told me anything. If he stays, I count on him and he will have options to play.’
Asked specifically about the possiblity of signing Depay from Lyon before next week’s deadline, Koeman added: ‘There are two positions in the team where we could use one more player: the centre-back and the centre-forward positions.
‘There is competition but we are going to play a lot of games. It would help us to have one more per position.’