Barcelona Transfer News: Ousmane Dembele, Ilkay Gundogan, Top Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2016

Rennes' French forward Ousmane Dembele celebrates after scoring  a goal during the French L1 football match between Rennes (SRFC) and Nantes (FCN) on March 6, 2016 at the Roazhon Park stadium in Rennes, western France. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER / AFP / DAMIEN MEYER        (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
DAMIEN MEYER/Getty Images

Barcelona’s main summer transfer target will reportedly be Rennes teenager Ousmane Dembele, with the European champions said to be keen on completing a deal “as soon as possible.”

That’s according to Sport's Lluis Miguelsanz, who suggests the urgency in the Blaugrana ranks is due to concerns a host of European football’s elite sides may make a move for the 18-year-old, who has been impressive in Ligue 1 this season.

According to Simon Jones of the MailOnline, Bayern Munich, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Chelsea and Juventus are also interested in the French youth international. Here is a look at why:

Dembele has played across the front line for Rennes this term and dazzled. As you’d expect, there are some rough edges to the teenager’s game, but with the ball at his feet, he’s incredibly unpredictable, boasting a turn of pace and an eye for ingenuity.

Dembele is a hugely exciting prospect.
Dembele is a hugely exciting prospect.CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/Getty Images

Those qualities were on show in earnest in his last outing in the French top flight, as Dembele netted a hat-trick in a 4-1 win against Nantes, making it four goals and three assists in his last two top-flight matches. As noted by WhoScored.com’s Ben McAleer, he’s a player who loves to go at opposition defenders:

That trait would be welcome at the Camp Nou, and Dembele may well be the right player to add some depth to the Barcelona attack.

Indeed, while the special trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar will not be dislodged for a while yet, a young player who can supplement their skills and be drafted into games late on would be ideal. Dembele may not be starting regularly, but given the amount of matches Barcelona play in a season, minutes would certainly not be too tough to come by.

Dembele would learn plenty from this trio.
Dembele would learn plenty from this trio.JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

As we can see here courtesy of his official Twitter feed, the man himself is already a big admirer of Barcelona’s talisman:

So while all the sides mentioned will likely court Dembele, if Barcelona make him a priority, as Miguelsanz suggests they will, then there’s surely only one club that he’ll end up at. And for a young attacking player seeking to improve, there are few better places than the Camp Nou for a footballing education.

Barcelona to Battle Liverpool for Ilkay Gundogan

DORTMUND, GERMANY - MARCH 05:  Ilkay Guendogan of Borussia Dortmund looks on during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Muenchen at Signal Iduna Park on March 5, 2016 in Dortmund, Germany.bs  (Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images)
Boris Streubel/Getty Images

Sport (h/t Kristian Walsh of the Liverpool Echo) have also reported that Barcelona will rival Liverpool in pursuit of Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan.

“It claims the La Liga giants had scouts present for the clash between Dortmund and Bayern Munich, with the intent of keeping tabs on Gundogan,” writes Walsh. Here is a look at why the 25-year-old is rated as one of the top central midfielders around:

After the previous two seasons were almost obliterated by injury, the German international has enjoyed a brilliant return to form in 2015-16. Dortmund have been superb in the Bundesliga, with Gundogan’s multifaceted style of play providing the fulcrum for the thrilling brand of football on show at the Westfalenstadion.

And while Barcelona have a lot of classy midfielders within their ranks, Bleacher Report’s Clark Whitney feels he could force his way into the XI:

Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta currently make up a potent midfielder trio for the Blaugrana, with Arda Turan and Sergi Roberto battling to get into Luis Enrique’s side; Rafinha will also be in the hunt for a first-team spot next season once he returns from injury. So a player like Gundogan isn’t a necessity for Barcelona.

Still, with Iniesta ageing, there may be more room for rotation in the squad next season, and the German, while different to the Spaniard in style, is a player who can control the tempo of a game and glide past opponents in similar fashion. Needed or not, Gundogan certainly possesses the technical and tenacious qualities needed to cut it at the Camp Nou.

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