Reports: Real Madrid to hijack transfer of Barcelona target by offering 'cash+player' deal
What's the story?
Borussia Dortmund have received a last-minute bid from Real Madrid for Ousmane Dembele, according to a report in Spanish news outlet, AS. Barcelona have already had a bid rejected, but are desperate to sign the Frenchman as a replacement for Neymar, whose transfer to PSG has been ratified by the FFF. Real Madrid President Florentino Perez is reportedly keen on scuppering Dembele's move, and has offered Dortmund a move that would involve a 'cash+player' deal, so that the Schwarzgelben will not be left in the lurch so late in the transfer window.
In case you didn't know...
Ousmane Dembele joined Dortmund from Ligue 1 side Rennes last summer, with the Bundesliga giants parting with €15 million for the Young Player of the Year. Dembele has gone a long way into paying back that transfer fee, racking up 10 goals and 21 assists for Dortmund in 49 appearances in all competitions.
The heart of the matter
Barcelona's chase for Dembele has been well documented, with Borussia Dortmund confirming that they had rejected a €100 million bid on the stock exchange. The Blaugrana are desperate for a blockbuster signing, especially after Neymar's departure, and are apparently going to return with an improved bid of €140 million, now that they've run into obstacles from Liverpool in their pursuit of Philippe Coutinho.
Florentino Perez seeks to twist in the knife further, by hijacking a move for a player that Real Madrid do not particularly need. According to Spanish Radio station RAC1, Perez reportedly told Dortmund counterpart, Rainhard Reuball, with whom he shares a close relationship, "Before you sell him [Dembélé], tell me how much for."
The Frenchman recently missed training with the club and was suspended, with Dortmund issuing a statement saying, "Ousmane Dembele was missing from BVB training today without permission and apparently decided voluntarily to do that. Of course, such misbehaviour will be sanctioned. On top of that, after consulting our coach, we have decided to ban the player from training and matches until after the cup match this weekend."
While this simply could be mischief making on the part of Madrid-based media, the fact remains that Real Madrid have quite a lot of cash burning in Florentino Perez' pocket, having raised upwards of €100 million through player sales this summer. What better way than to prevent Barcelona from signing a player they desperately need, and thus effectively guarantee the La Liga title?