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Barcelona could sell star to make room for top transfer target - Reports

Cornella v FC Barcelona - Copa del Rey
Cornella v FC Barcelona - Copa del Rey
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 02 Apr 2021
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According to Sport, Barcelona striker Martin Braithwaite could be on the way out of the club in the summer as manager Ronald Koeman looks to bring in Memphis Depay.

Depay was close to joining Barcelona last season. However protracted transfer negotiations ultimately saw the move fall through and Depay stayed in France for one more season. He has gone on to impress at Lyon this season, scoring 15 goals and providing nine assists in all competitions.

The 27-year-old has been the driving force behind Lyon's surprise title charge as they sit just three points off the top of the Ligue 1.

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman is said to be keen to bring his compatriot to the club ahead of next season. However, Barcelona will have to sell a player to free up wages and make room for Depay in the squad, with reports stating that Braithwaite will face the axe.

The Dane joined Barcelona from Leganes last year but has failed to deliver for the Spanish giants. Braithwaite has scored just twice in the La Liga for Barcelona this season, further strengthening the view that he is not the striker to take Barcelona back to the very top.

Ronald Koeman confirms Barcelona's interest in Depay last year

Netherlands v Latvia - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
Netherlands v Latvia - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier

Depay joined Lyon in 2017 after a horrid spell at Manchester United. The versatile forward failed to live up to the expectations at Old Trafford but things around at Lyon. Depay has established himself as one of the key players in the side and has lit up the Ligue 1.

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Ronald Koeman confirmed Barcelona's interest in the Lyon star a year ago while praising his countryman's abilities.

“Everything was ready but due to La Liga rules, we knew we had to sell a player first,” Koeman said. “In the end, that didn’t happen. We wanted Memphis because he’s a great player and because he’s got qualities that I think we lack, including an ability to play with depth in his game," said Koeman.

Lyon's president Jean-Michel Aulas, however, has expressed his desire for the Dutchman to stay at the club.

“I haven’t got a bad word to say about him. I will respect his decision. If he goes to a bigger club than Lyon, he’ll have made the right choice,” said Aulas. “If he stays, it will mean we’ve been a great adventure for him and we have won something," said Aulas.
“He’s been doing a good job as captain. He talks a lot with other players in the squad. In recent years, we have helped Memphis to reach and improve on the level he was at in the 2014 World Cup," Aulas added.
Published 02 Apr 2021, 21:59 IST
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