Barcelona wait on Aubameyang and Dest exits with Man United poised but unlikely to move

Catalans need to trim squad but chances of Red Devils swooping are slim after busy summer

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Having spent £227 million on five new players this summer – more than any other football club – Manchester United are unlikely to make any more signings in this transfer window which closes on Thursday.

United have been kept abreast of developments regarding several players in recent weeks, including Barcelona striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Such a move for the 33-year-old – or for former player Memphis Depay, who would be allowed to leave on a free transfer – would be dependent on United losing a striker of their own. If Cristiano Ronaldo leaves Old Trafford this week then United would likely act.

Aubameyang has yet to start a game since the arrival of Robert Lewandowski and Barcelona have been in talks with Chelsea for several weeks about Aubameyang.

Dutch attacker Depay, 28, is well regarded at Barcelona and the club are grateful to him since he arrived on a free transfer – in June, 2021 – and performed well. But despite being a starting attacker at the start of last season, Barca have signed three forwards since.

Sergino Dest, another Barcelona player, has also been linked with United but The National understands no deal is imminent.

The USA international, who usually plays right-back, would be keen on even a loan move to Old Trafford and his wages are low compared to his Barcelona teammates. But United are not intending to let Aaron Wan-Bissaka go – in a permanent deal or on loan – despite the English player wanting to play regular football. The 24-year-old has lost his place in the side to Diogo Dalot.

Barcelona defender Sergino Dest has also been linked with a move to Manchester United. AFP

Barcelona do have one definite offer from La Liga rivals Villarreal who want to loan Dest, 21, who faces a season in the stands if he does not leave the Catalan club.

His USA teammate Christian Pulisic was wanted by Erik Ten Hag and there were multiple contacts about the player, but United’s priority was Antony and they reached an agreement with Ajax on Monday, subject to terms being finalised.

Pulisic is unhappy at barely featuring under Thomas Tuchel so far this season, but Chelsea, who have won only two of their opening five league games, have been reluctant to loan the player, preferring to sell if he is to leave – but that is not expected in this window.

Both Barcelona and United expect to see more outgoings. Midfielder James Garner, 21, is set to join Everton on a permanent deal for around £15 million. Other clubs were interested in signing him but he wants to join Everton. Winger Amad Diallo, 20, is likely to go out on loan to Championship side Sunderland.

Barca would ideally move four players on before the deadline, though only two departures are realistic and expected for the Catalans.

Manchester United midfielder James Garner, left, is set to join Everton. AFP
Updated: August 31, 2022, 12:27 PM
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