Author Archives: mirsinho

Assessing 24 of the Biggest Swap Deals in Football History

Inter Milan's Cameroonian forward Samuel
Inter Milan’s Cameroonian forward Samuel | CHRISTOPHE SIMON/Getty Images

With the coronavirus pandemic affecting the finances of every football club, it seems likely that we will see more swap deals take place in the upcoming transfer window.

And while they aren’t a common occurrence in past windows, you can still find examples of clubs looking to save money by offloading one player to sign another. It adds another element of drama to the already crazy art of negotiating moves for players, while becoming a source of entertainment of its own, as fans debate and argue over who got the better deal.

With that all said, here’s a list of the biggest and most famous swap deals that have taken place in the history of football, with an assessment on each transfer.

Peter OdemwingiePeter Odemwingie
Odemwingie scored all of his five goals for the Potters in one half-season | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

We begin with the swap deal you’ve probably forgotten, unless you’re a Stoke or Cardiff fan. It’s fair to say that neither player had quite the impact their clubs were hoping for.

While Odemwingie started off well with five goals in his first 15 games, injuries led to a diminished role for the Nigerian at the Potters. As for Jones, he failed to help the Bluebirds avoid relegation from the top flight. The striker did end up Cardiff’s top-scorer for the next season, but was soon shipped out for loan spells elsewhere.

Winner: Cardiff

UEFA Champions League"Paris St Germain v Galatasaray AS"UEFA Champions League"Paris St Germain v Galatasaray AS"
Muslera has played 365 games for Cimbom to date | ANP Sport/Getty Images

It’s rare for a swap deal to take place between two teams of different countries. But that’s what happened when Lazio arranged for Muslera’s departure to Turkey in exchange for bringing Cana to the Stadio Olimpico.

And despite the Albanian midfielder doing well in Serie A, Muslera ended up being a terrific signing for Cimbom. Still the first-choice stopper today, he’s won 14 trophies during his time at the club, and was voted the country’s footballer of the year in 2016.

Winner: Galatasaray

Yes, you read that correctly. Palace legend Ian Wright was swapped for a couple of gym weights and a bag of footballs.

Having been scouted by the Eagles, they offered to hand the non-league side gym weights and balls in exchange for the player. The England international ended up scoring 118 goals for the south London club, and was voted their Player of the Century. As for the gym weights and footballs, we’ve no idea what happened to them…

Winner: Crystal Palace

Peter CrouchPeter Crouch
Crouch played just six games for the Clarets before retiring | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

There was excitement in the air on deadline day of the 2019 January window. No, not because Lazar Marković was headed to Fulham.

Rather, the big move was when Crouch and cash were exchanged by Stoke for the Burnley striker Vokes. In hindsight, neither side really won the deal – Crouchy retired months after the deal, while his Welsh counterpart has only netted seven times for the Potters. Hard to pick a winner here.

Winner: Burnley (for the £8m)

Fernando TorresFernando Torres
Atléti legend Torres returned to win the Europa League | Power Sport Images/Getty Images

With Torres clearly not in the Rossoneri’s long-term plans, a move away seemed inevitable. Keen to bring him back to Los Rojiblancos, Diego Simeone traded away winger Alessio Cerci to sign the Spaniard on loan.

Despite having previously flourished in Serie A, the Italian scored once in 33 games for the club and now finds himself in Serie B. On the other hand, Torres played another 160 games for Atléti and was able to win the Europa League with his boyhood club.

Winner: Atlético Madrid

James BeattieJames Beattie
Beattie was at his most prolific at the Saints | Ben Radford/Getty Images

Having scored nine league goals in the 1997/98 Premier League season, Davies soon attracted the attention of Blackburn, who went on to send both youngster Beattie and £7.5m to the south coast in exchange for the forward.

Yet the move backfired on the Lancashire club, as Davies ended up scoring just twice in two seasons. And while Beattie needed some time to settle in, he eventually assumed the mantle of being the Saints’ star striker, netting 76 goals in 235 games before moving on to Everton.

Winner: Southampton

Jose Antonio ReyesJose Antonio Reyes
José Antonio Reyes scored seven goals in his only season at Los Blancos | Denis Doyle/Getty Images

With Reyes keen for a move back to Spain, Arsenal finally agreed to a loan-swap deal with Real Madrid, sending the winger there and gaining Júlio Baptista in return.

The Brazilian only scored three league goals in his sole season at the Emirates Stadium, and failed to make a major impact for the Gunners. Reyes on the other hand was more regularly used by Los Blancos as they went on to lift the La Liga title that year.

Winner: Real Madrid

Gianpaolo PazziniGianpaolo Pazzini
Pazzini ended up the more prolific of the duo at I Rossoneri | Claudio Villa/Getty Images

With both city rivals struggling to make it work for their Italian strikers, they decided to swap them, albeit with Inter paying an extra £5.5m for Cassano.

Yet the Nerazzurri would find the former Real Madrid forward difficult to work with, despite his seven league goals, with many questioning his fitness and work ethic. Their counterparts, however, managed to get a prolific first season from Pazzini, before his scoring touch began to diminish in later years.

Winner: AC Milan

Gylfi SigurdssonGylfi Sigurdsson
Sigurdsson became a key figure for the Swans | Stu Forster/Getty Images

In what became Mauricio Pochettino’s first signings as Tottenham manager in 2014, Gylfi Sigurðsson was swapped to Swansea in exchange for both Ben Davies and Michel Vorm.

The Icelandic star became the key midfield talisman for the Swans, with his set-pieces and creativity crucial in staying afloat in the Premier League. But considering Davies’ status as the first-choice left-back in north London, Spurs will be happy with the deal they got, given that Vorm has also served as a solid back-up option for Hugo Lloris.

Winner: Tottenham

Man Utd v ValenciaMan Utd v Valencia
Andy Cole’s goals were key to the Red Devils’ success | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It was a major surprise when Sir Alex Ferguson sanctioned the signing of Andy Cole from Newcastle United, with £6m and youngster Keith Gillespie heading in the opposite direction.

But the legendary manager would have the last laugh, as Cole scored 121 goals to help the Red Devils claim five top-flight titles in a hugely successful period. As for the Tynesiders, they weren’t able to challenge their rivals, even though Gillespie ended up becoming a decent winger at St James’ Park.

Winner: Manchester United

Tottenham's Jermain Defoe celebrates aftTottenham's Jermain Defoe celebrates aft
Defoe scored 143 goals in two spells at Spurs | AFP IOPP/Getty Images

Few swap transfers end up working out for both sides. Yet this deal ended up leaving Spurs and West Ham both happy with their respective goalscoring strikers.

Defoe would score 22 goals in his first full season at Spurs, and became the team’s chief marksman up front before he departed for Portsmouth. Meanwhile, Zamora didn’t quite reach the same heights as his predecessor, but was still a key player for the Hammers, helping the club achieve promotion in 2005.

Winner: Tottenham

AC Milan's midfielder Andrea Pirlo celebAC Milan's midfielder Andrea Pirlo celeb
Would you ever consider trading away Andrea Pirlo? | PACO SERINELLI/Getty Images

Inter fans, look away. Here’s a brief summary of how you traded away arguably the best modern Italian footballer to have played to your city rivals.

Having not impressed the Nerazzurri’s management in his 40 appearances, the Andrea Pirlo was sent across the San Siro divide and was swapped for Guglielminpietro, as well as a bit of cash. While Guly only played 30 games for Inter, Pirlo became a star for the Rossoneri and won two Champions League titles. It’s pretty easy to see who won this swap deal.

Winner: AC Milan

Michael OwenMichael Owen
Owen scored 16 goals in his only season at Los Blancos | Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

With just a year left on Owen’s deal, Real Madrid capitalised and signed the Englishman, paying just £8m and sending Núñez to Anfield in exchange.

It couldn’t have gone worse for Núñez, who injured his knee in his first day of training and never was able to get into the Reds’ first team from that point onwards.

As for his English counterpart, the striker scored 16 goals in his only season in Spain before moving to Newcastle for £17m, in what became great business for Los Blancos.

Winner: Real Madrid

Bonucci has put a disaster spell at Milan firmly behind himBonucci has put a disaster spell at Milan firmly behind him
Bonucci has put a disaster spell at Milan firmly behind him | Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Having arrived at the San Siro for a €42m fee, Bonucci was a major disappointment for Milan. Given that he wasn’t getting any younger, the club looked for a replacement that could assume his position for the future.

Hence, the veteran was swapped back to former club Juventus for youngster Mattia Caldara, with Gonzalo Higuaín also temporarily headed to the Rossoneri. It didn’t work out well at all for Il Diavolo, as the Argentine found himself at Chelsea a few months later. And while Caldara has yet to establish himself for Milan, Bonucci has assumed his role for the Bianconeri without looking out of place. Juve definitely won this deal.

Winner: Juventus

Fabio CannavaroFabio Cannavaro
Cannavaro became crucial to Juve’s defence after the move | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Wait, Inter traded away another Italian great three years after Pirlo?

Failing to excel at the San Siro, Cannavaro was swapped for Juventus goalkeeper Fabián Carini in 2004. The Uruguayan stopper played just four games for the Neruzzurri, while the legendary defender would win two Scudetti (before the club was stripped of their titles). Still, the Bianconeri got a way better return here…

Winner: Juventus

AC Milan's midfielder Clarence Seedorf (AC Milan's midfielder Clarence Seedorf (
Seedorf lifted ten trophies at Milan | PACO SERINELLI/Getty Images

Another swap deal between the Milan clubs saw Seedorf traded to the Rossoneri, in exchange for Francesco Coco who headed to Inter. Once again, the Nerazzurri got the worse end of the deal.

Coco would fail to play regularly due to a string of injuries that curtailed his time at the club. Seedorf, however, became a legend at Milan, winning ten trophies and becoming an essential part of their success under Carlo Ancelotti.

Winner: AC Milan

Roberto CarlosRoberto Carlos
Roberto Carlos claimed Roy Hodgson’s spell at Inter ‘destroyed him’ | Ben Radford/Getty Images

Chilean star Zamorano became a transfer target for many of Europe’s elite, having scored 28 goals to help Real lift the 1994/95 La Liga title. Inter, keen to sign the striker, offered up £1m plus Carlos, who was unhappy with manager Roy Hodgson at the time.

The Nerazzurri forward wasn’t a bad player at the San Siro, but his goalscoring rate began to decrease, as the likes of Ronaldo took his first-team spot. Los Blancos, on the other hand, were delighted to end up with the Brazilian legend Carlos, who ended up playing more than 500 games for the club and was a key part of the successful ‘Galacticos’ era.

Winner: Real Madrid

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-ASTON VILLAFBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-ASTON VILLA
Luiz would later become a teammate of Matić during both spells at Stamford Bridge | GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

In high demand after impressing at Benfica, Chelsea acted swiftly to acquire Luiz, with then-reserve Matić and £20m being enough to make the deal happen.

The Brazilian played 248 games for the Blues over two spells, while Matić ended up impressing in Portugal, earning him a move back to Stamford Bridge three years after his departure. With the Blues getting the best of the duo on the pitch in England, they ultimately won the deal in the end.

Winner: Chelsea

Diego MilitoDiego Milito
Milito was a goal-scoring machine at Inter | Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

In 2009, Inter, always looking to push the boundaries of player transfers, proceeded to sign Milito and Motta from Genoa, in exchange for a small fee, four players and co-ownership of another youngster.

The two Nerazzurri signings would prove to be instrumental for the club, particularly in the 2009/10 treble-winning season. As for the Genoa quintet, many of them were shipped off to other clubs, including a young Bonucci, who would soon end up at Juventus.

Winner: Inter

Alexis SanchezAlexis Sanchez
Sánchez has not been at his best for the Red Devils | Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Remember when this was said to be a good deal for both teams? Seems like a long time ago now.

As Sánchez’s deal came close to expiring, the Gunners struck a deal with United to send the want-away Chilean north, with Mkhitaryan heading in the opposite direction. Yet neither side have emerged from the deal as the better side, given that both players are now on loan in Italy and don’t seem to have a future at either club.

Winner: Arsenal (for paying the lower wages)

Christian VieriChristian Vieri
Vieri only won one trophy with Inter despite scoring loads of goals | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

A world-record transfer at the time, Inter signing Christian Vieri to partner Ronaldo was a sign of intent and promised a successful era at the San Siro.

But despite the Italian scoring 123 goals during his time at the Nerazzurri, it was only enough to win a single Coppa Italia trophy. Given that Simeone went on to win a league and cup double with the Biancocelesti, as well as the club pocketing a huge fee at the time for Vieri, Lazio were the winners of this swap deal.

Winners: Lazio

DecoDeco
Deco helped the Catalans win two La Liga titles and a Champions League | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Having won UEFA’s Club Footballer of the Year in 2004, Deco became a sought-after player for many European clubs. But it was the addition of Quaresma that swung the deal in favour of Barcelona, with Porto happy to obtain the services of the young Portuguese star.

Despite dazzling defences in Portugal for several seasons, Quaresma was unable to perform consistently for the Dragões. His compatriot however continued to shine on a bigger stage and helped the Blaugrana win five trophies, cementing his place as a modern midfield great.

Winner: Barcelona

Ashley ColeAshley Cole
Ashley Cole played over 300 games for the Blues after his move | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

A highly controversial deal at the time, both players were keen to leave their respective clubs and got their wish when the Gunners and Blues came together to agree the swap transfer.

While Gallas was a regular at the Emirates, his time was blemished with various incidents, such as sulking after defeat at Birmingham City. Cole, on the other hand, won nine trophies at Chelsea and was one of the first names on the teamsheet at Stamford Bridge.

Winner: Chelsea

Samuel Eto'oSamuel Eto'o
Eto’o scored plenty of goals to lead Inter to a treble in the 2009/10 season | Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Having decided that Eto’o wasn’t going to fit into his system, Pep Guardiola decided to exchange the striker, with cash (and Alexander Hleb until he refused the move) for Ibrahimović in 2009.

The mercurial Swede had a prolific first season at Camp Nou, but wasn’t willing to play out wide to accommodate Lionel Messi and left not long after. Meanwhile, Eto’o ended up having a fantastic two seasons in Italy, scoring 53 goals in just 102 games and leading the Nerazzurri to six trophies.

Winner: Inter

Let’

Rolando Mandragora ‘Flattered’ by Napoli Interest as Agent Confirms Buy-Back Clause With Juventus

Rolando Mandragora
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Juventus have an option to re-sign Udinese midfielder Rolando Mandragora, but the player’s agent has confirmed they’re ‘flattered’ after being linked with a summer move to Napoli.

The Italy international ended a two and a half year spell with Juventus in 2018, opting to join Udinese in a €20m deal where he’s gone on to make 63 appearances across all competitions, establishing himself as one of Serie A’s most promising midfielders.

Mandragora is expected to make a big move sooner rather than later, and although Juventus could re-sign him for €26m, the player’s agent says the Italian is ‘flattered’ with recent rumours linking him with a move to Napoli.

Rolando MandragoraRolando Mandragora
TF-Images/Getty Images

“I think there are going to be a lot of interesting opportunities for Mandragora in the next transfer window,” agent Luca De Simone told Radio Kiss Kiss (via Football Italia).

“It’s true that the player went to Udinese for two years with an option to buy that Juventus have at €26m. Obviously, this is only an option and not an obligation. We are not aware of any Napoli interest, but we would certainly be flattered if that were the case.”

Mandragora, who was born in Napoli but spent the majority of his youth career with Genoa, could prove to be a bargain for Juventus if they exercise their buy-back option, although the Serie A champions would need to cut down their squad before making any new additions.

Napoli could be forced to spend slightly over the odds, with CIES Football Observatory valuing Mandragora at €30m, but the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic could have a knock-on effect on his value too.

Mandragora is under contract at Udinese until 2023, so while the Friulani don’t have any pressure to sell on that side of things, they’re among a group of top-flight clubs across Europe who are struggling the most during the coronavirus pandemic.

Let’

The 18 Most Prolific Attacking Partnerships in Europe’s Top 5 Leagues This Season

Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Every great superhero needs a sidekick, and that’s also true with European football’s top strikers.

There’s only a select few players who steal the limelight every week thanks to the sheer number of times they find the back of the net, but for every goal that’s scored, there’s almost always another player topping up their tally of assists too.

Europe’s best goalscorers often rely on one or two of their teammates to spoon feed them the majority of their strikes, creating some incredibly surprising (as well as blatantly obvious) partnerships we watch week in, week out.

Lionel Messi, Arturo VidalLionel Messi, Arturo Vidal
Alex Caparros/Getty Images

But before we get underway, let’s all be sure about what we’re looking at.

These aren’t based off combined goals and assists between two players, so using the Eredivisie as an example, although AZ Alkmaar’s Myron Boadu and Ousamma Idrissi have been directly involved in 27 separate goals, Boadu has only assisted Idrissi six times this season – and we’re looking at the latter.

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-BAYERN MUNICH-BERLINFBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-BAYERN MUNICH-BERLIN
CHRISTOF STACHE/Getty Images

It will be little surprise to see Lewandowski feature on this list, and it won’t come as a shock that the Poland international pops up later on either.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-MONACO-REIMSFBL-FRA-LIGUE1-MONACO-REIMS
VALERY HACHE/Getty Images

Monaco have had a season to forget in Ligue 1, but striker Wissam Ben Yedder has been a shining light for the club and sits level at the top of France’s goalscoring chart.

More than 22 per cent of Ben Yedder’s goals in Ligue 1 have been set up by Keita Baldé Diao.

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-ASTON VILLAFBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-ASTON VILLA
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Things haven’t exactly fallen into place under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but Marcus Rahsford’s partnership with Daniel James – especially on the counter attack – has been a big plus for Manchester United.

Joquin Correa, Luis AlbertoJoquin Correa, Luis Alberto
Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

The Serie A hasn’t had a title race in a few years, but the creativity of Lazio’s Luis Alberto has been key in this season’s fascinating battle for the Scudetto.

Florian Niederlechner, Philipp MaxFlorian Niederlechner, Philipp Max
DeFodi Images/Getty Images

The key to success for Augsburg really is quite simple. Get Philipp Max tacking set pieces and aim every cross towards Florian Niederlechner.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Rodrigo BentancurCristiano Ronaldo, Rodrigo Bentancur
Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo has been one of Europe’s top goalscorers for a generation, but his partnership with Uruguay international Rodrigo Bentancur might be one of the most surprising.

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-CELTAFBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-CELTA
PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/Getty Images

Four of Lucas Olaza’s five assists this season have been to set up Iago Aspas, Celta Vigo’s top goalscorer by quite some distance.

Ciro Immobile, Luis AlbertoCiro Immobile, Luis Alberto
Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

It was Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski who’s received the most attention this season, but before the Bundesliga’s restart, Ciro Immobile was actually the top goalscorer across Europe.

Teemu Pukki, Emiliano BuendiaTeemu Pukki, Emiliano Buendia
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

It looks like the Premier League dream will end for Norwich City, but thanks to Emi Buendía and Teemu Pukki, their one season back in the top flight has been a very, very memorable one.

Arturo Vidal, Lionel Messi, Luis SuarezArturo Vidal, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez
Alex Caparros/Getty Images

It might not seem like an impressive partnership considering they’re on par with Norwich City and Celta Vigo, but Luis Suárez has missed a large chunk of the season through injury.

Timo Werner, Christopher NkunkuTimo Werner, Christopher Nkunku
Visionhaus/Getty Images

Timo Werner’s been getting all sorts of attention this season, but it’s been new signing Christopher Nkunku who’s helped the most with the Germany international’s goalscoring record.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo DybalaCristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Ronaldo’s on-field relationship with Bentancur might be a surprise, but this one certainly isn’t.

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-UNION BERLIN-DORTMUNDFBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-UNION BERLIN-DORTMUND
ODD ANDERSEN/Getty Images

They’re players you probably hadn’t heard of before this season, but Union Berlin’s two star players have been essential in their fight to avoid relegation.

Raul Jimenez, Adama TraoreRaul Jimenez, Adama Traore
Sam Bagnall – AMA/Getty Images

Wolves have been able to throw themselves into the mix for Champions League qualification thanks to a few different factors, and although they’re certainly not a one trick pony, Adama Traoré’s relationship with Raúl Jiménez has been crucial.

Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di MariaKylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

It’s not Paris Saint-Germain’s most high-profile attacking partnership, but Kylian Mbappé has Ángel Di María to thank for half a dozen of his goals in Ligue 1.

Robert Lewandowski, Thomas MuellerRobert Lewandowski, Thomas Mueller
Visionhaus/Getty Images

Lewandowski’s targeting a new personal best in the Bundesliga this season and he’s only three goals off his all-time best of 30, so he’ll be looking towards Thomas Müller to help get him over the line before the end of the campaign.

FBL-FRA-CUP-LYON-PSGFBL-FRA-CUP-LYON-PSG
PHILIPPE DESMAZES/Getty Images

Two-thirds of Mbappé’s 18 goals in Ligue 1 this season have been set up by Neymar or Di María.

Sergio Aguero, Kevin De BruyneSergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne
Visionhaus/Getty Images

Kevin De Bruyne’s tally of six assists for Sergio Agüero alone has already eclipsed what they managed during the entirety of the 2017/18 Premier League season for Manchester City.

Let’

Chelsea and Juventus in Talks Over Proposed Jorginho Transfer

Talks between Chelsea and Juventus are ongoing over a proposed transfer for Jorginho, according to a report in Italy.

Barcelona midfielder Arthur Melo had been heavily linked with a switch to the Italian giants in a potential swap deal for Miralem Pjanic. However, the 23-year-old has continually reiterated his desire to stay at Camp Nou this summer.

While Arthur’s reluctance to depart Barcelona has seen any proposed move to Juventus stutter, according to Italian news outlet Corriere dello Sport (via Sport Witness), the club’s attention has turned to Chelsea midfielder Jorginho.

The report states that talks between the two clubs are ‘ongoing’. Chelsea have supposedly set a €35m (£31m) asking price for their player – despite his Stamford Bridge contract running until 2023 – which seems an unrealistically low sum.

The move, should it come to fruition, would see the midfielder reunite with former manager Maurizio Sarri.

The Juventus boss is a long term admirer of Jorginho, having managed the him for three years at Napoli, before immediately bringing him to Chelsea with him in 2018.

Jorginho’s agent Joao Santos has done nothing to play down these rumours, refusing to rule out a return to Italy for his client.

Speaking to Tuttomercatoweb, Santos said: “I don’t know whether Juve want Jorginho or not, as he has three years left on his Chelsea contract. We’ll see…

“He is a professional, so if an important club in Italy calls, then why not?”

However, when questioned on his client by 90min last month, Santos claimed that Jorginho’s ‘top priority remains Chelsea’ while adding that he has received offer from ‘two top clubs’.

The midfielder endured a tough start to life at Stamford Bridge following his £57m move from Serie A.

Jorginho was not an instant fan favourite and faced heavy criticism due to being synonymous with ‘Sarriball’ and forcing N’Golo Kante to be dislodged from his favoured holding midfield role.

He has enjoyed a more fruitful second season in London, chipping in with seven goals and two assists in 37 appearances in all competitions.

Let’

Juventus Keen on Including Ousmane Dembélé as Part of Miralem Pjanic Deal With Barcelona

Juventus have taken an interest in Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembélé and the Frenchman could be used as part of the deal which would see Miralem Pjanic move to Catalonia.

The Blaugrana are keen to get a number of high earners off their books to ease some financial pressure amid the coronavirus pandemic. Along with Dembélé, the likes of Nelson Semedo, Samuel Umtiti, Ivan Rakitic and Arthur Melo are among the high-profile stars Barcelona are supposedly willing to jettison once the transfer window reopens.

Arthur Melo’s desire to stay at Barcelona has thwarted the potential swap deal with Juventus for Miralem Pjanic

Catalan news outlet Mundo Deportivo has reported Juventus, who are currently locked in negotiations with Barça regarding a swap deal between Pjanic and Arthur, have enquired about the possibility of including 23-year-old Dembélé as part of the deal instead.

Arthur isn’t keen on departing Camp Nou, and with the Brazilian unlikely to have a change of heart anytime soon, the two clubs are said to be exploring possibilities with other players.

Right-back Nelson Semedo is another who’s cropped up as an alternative, although the Portuguese international is subject of interest from Manchester City and, according to his agent Jorge Mendes, could be included in a swap deal which would see Joao Cancelo make the switch to Catalonia.

So that leaves Dembélé, who – despite his persistent injury woes – remains an exciting option for Juventus due to his supreme talent.

Ousmane Dembele’s £97m switch to Barcelona means he’s the joint-sixth most expensive footballer of all-time

Since his hefty £97m move from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, Dembele has been able to turn out in Blaugrana colours on just 74 occasions, scoring 19 times. Following a fairly productive La Liga campaign which saw him rack up 13 goal contributions, a pair of hamstring injuries have seen him notch a mere 492 minutes in all competitions this term.

And with his injury history in mind, Juve are believed to be interested in securing the Frenchman on an initial loan deal before making an assessment about his long-term future.

Barcelona boss Quique Setien, however, is a fan of Dembele due to the different dynamic he provides to the Catalans’ attack as a result of his willingness to run in behind and ambidexterity. A potential deal, therefore, could be tricky.


Let’