BARCELONA

Dembélé: Barcelona's master key to unlock Operation Neymar

Barcelona are reportedly considering offering a French trio lead by Ousmane Dembélé as part of a deal for PSG star Neymar.

Dembélé: Barcelona's master key to unlock Operaton Neymar
Etsuo Hara DIARIO AS

Except for Marc-André Ter Stegen, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Frenkie De Jong and Leo Messi, Barça will offer up whomever it takes – Antoine Griezmann included even if that is not president Josep Bartomeu's initial plan – in a desperate bid to lower the cost of bringing Neymar back to Camp Nou.

This Friday, Catalan daily Mundo Deportivo has reported that the Barcelona board are currently considering the possibility of offering PSG the French trio of Ousmane Dembélé, Jean-Clair Todibo and Samuel Umtiti, plus cash, in exchange for Neymar, who is now the club's number one goal for this summer, ahead even of Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martínez.

Dembélé: huge potential despite Barcelona struggles

The master key to Operation Neymar is held by Dembélé. Despite his three dire seasons at Barça, he is still a 22-year-old footballer with undeniable physical and technical ability.

And while he is now worth less than half of his value at the time he arrived at Camp Nou (transfermarkt.com currently has him at 56 million euros), there is no question that he still holds incredible potential.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Dembélé, then, could lead the French trio towards PSG, who have long claimed that they want to ‘Frenchify’ the squad. Were the Parisian club willing to accept Dembélé, Umtiti and Todibo as part of a deal for Neymar, it would significantly reduce the money Barcelona would have to pay for the Brazilian superstar.

However, it must be remembered that Barcelona tried to execute a similar swap deal last summer. The club were willing to give up Dembélé, Rakitic, or basically whomever PSG wanted. But PSG’s owners could not be swayed.

Now, almost a year on, and with Dembélé having suffered two more serious injuries, it is hard to imagine PSG will be willing to change their mind. Nevertheless, Barcelona’s ardent desire to bring back Neymar means the club are obligated to try.