Several presidents of Europe’s top clubs were in Madrid this Friday for a meeting of the European Club Association. And AS’ cameras have captured Barcelona president Josep María Bartomeu, PSG president Nasser Al Khelaifi and Andrea Agnelli, president of Juventus, all leaving the same Gran Meliá Felix Hotel this Friday afternoon.
The meeting between Al Khelaifi and Bartomeu at the Gran Melia took place amidst negotiations understood to be ongoing surrounding Adrien Rabiot, a target of Barcelona, and Ousmane Dembélé, who is of interest to PSG. AS spotted Bartomeu leaving the hotel at 15:10, a little more than an hour after Al Khelaifi, who left at 16:17.
The Rabiot situation
Rabiot has been a prime midfield target for Barcelona, as well as for Juventus. So the presence of Agnelli on the last day of the Italian transfer window also fuels curiosity. The signing of the French midfielder had seemed an impossible operation for Barcelona after PSG refusal to let him go, with the club eventually signing Arturo Vidal and Arthur to strengthen its midfield.
But Ernesto Valverde still wants to bring in another midfield option and now the situation regarding Rabiot has changed somewhat. The 23-year-old has turned down an extension of his contract that is set to expire in 2019, which could see him leave on a free transfer next summer. PSG has warned him that he will not play for the entire season if he does not extend his contract with the club, but so far Rabiot has maintained his position.
Meanwhile, PSG has contacted Barcelona about the possibility of signing Dembélé. The French World Cup winner played a key role and scored the winning goal in the Blaugrana’s 2-1 victory over Seville in the Spanish Super Cup last Saturday. Barcelona signed the winger last summer for 105 million euros (with the final cost eventually rising to 145 million euros) as a replacement for Neymar, whom the club sold to PSG for 222 million euros.
But Dembélé did not live up to expectations last season. After picking up an injury early into the campaign, the 21-year-old only participated in 24 games, scoring four goals and making nine assists. Barcelona are understood to be open to letting him go, and, as reported by AS last week, were willing to listen to PSG’s offer for the player.