Sunday 20 January 2019

Barca eye Coutinho after €146m Dembele deal

Ousmane Dembele. Photo: Albert Gea/Reuters
Ousmane Dembele. Photo: Albert Gea/Reuters

Ousmane Dembele has formally completed his €146million move to Barcelona and been paraded on the pitch at the Nou Camp.

Around 17,000 fans attended Barca's official unveiling ceremony for the 20-year-old France winger, whose switch from Borussia Dortmund was announced on Friday.

The fee agreed between the two clubs - an initial €104.5million with add-ons potentially taking it to €146million - makes the player the second most expensive in history.

It is eclipsed only by Neymar's €222million move from Barca to Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month. Dembele was filmed by the club arriving at Barcelona's training ground on Monday and undergoing his medical. He then formally signed his five-year contract before being presented at the Nou Camp.

Dembele said: "I am very happy to be here in Barcelona. I have come here to win titles and am looking forward to integrating into the team."

He added at a later press conference: "Barcelona is the best club in the world and I am looking forward to playing with some of the best players in the world such as Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. I will do everything possible to contribute to this team."

Dembele has enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence since breaking into the Rennes team in September 2015. He was named Ligue 1 young player of the year in 2016 and moved to Dortmund for €14million just 12 months ago.

The signing of Dembele may not be the last Barcelona transfer activity before Thursday's deadline, according to club's technical director Robert Fernandez.

The Catalan giants continue to be linked heavily with Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho despite having three bids for the Brazilian rejected, the most recent reportedly worth up to £118million.

Speaking at Dembele's press conference, broadcast live on the club's website, Fernandez said: "We hope to present another player before the end of the month.

"My intention is for one player to come or maybe two, if possible. I won't go in to names but I admit that the club is working on the possibility of signing new players."

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