Reports: Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain close to agreeing on a spectacular swap deal
What's the story?
Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are believed to be closing in on huge swap deal which will see Adrien Rabiot move to the Nou Camp with Ousmane Dembele going the other way according to reports from AS.
Presidents of both clubs were attending a meeting of the European Club Association in Madrid on Friday along with other high-level officials from elite teams across the continent.
Both Josep María Bartomeu, president of Barcelona, and Nasser Al Khelaifi, president of Paris Saint-Germain left the same hotel on Friday afternoon after reported discussions about the swap deal.
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Rabiot has been a target for Barcelona all summer, impressing the Catalans with his performances at Parc Des Princes over the last couple of seasons. The 23-year-old's contract expires next summer and he has reportedly rejected the offer of a new contract from Paris Saint-Germain, leaving the club in a delicate predicament.
Meanwhile, Dembele is happy to stay at the Nou Camp but may face reduced playing time again this season. The 21-year-old faces stiff competition for a place in the Barca starting lineup this year and although he started during La Blaugrana's 3-0 win over Alaves, the Frenchman may leave if he is guaranteed a first-team place in Paris.
The heart of the matter
Although the market value of Dembele is considerably higher than that of Rabiot due to his lengthier contract and the fee paid for his services by Barca last summer, this swap deal could suit both clubs.
It is likely that the deal would not be a straight swap and Paris Saint-Germain may need to front up cash along with Rabiot for any agreement. The Parisian club is currently under investigation by UEFA for a potential breach of Fair Play rules and may need to wait until the end of the month when a verdict is due to see if they can afford such a transfer.
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Both players have been heavily linked with moves away from their respective clubs this summer, however, a mega-deal like this so late in the window could prove difficult. If any form of swap deal was to happen, it would likely involve Dembele moving on an initial loan to Paris due to the club's financial predicaments.
If the meeting between the presidents of the two clubs was successful, we may see a deal being prepared which could happen quickly at the end of the month after UEFA decide whether or not to punish Paris Saint-Germain for a breach of Fair Play. Both sides can sign players up until August 31st and this transfer story may run right up until the deadline.