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Arsenal in ‘continuous contact’ with Barcelona star as Unai Emery targets huge signing

Frenchman Emery is looking to make young winger his first marquee signing since being appointed Gunners boss

OUSMANE DEMBELE is the key name on new Arsenal boss Unai Emery’s radar this summer, with the club said to be in ‘continuous contact’ with the Barcelona winger.

Dembele, 21, only joined the Catalan club last summer for an eye-watering £97million from Borussia Dortmund.

Dembele will showcase his talents with France at the World Cup in Russia this summer

AP:Associated Press
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Dembele will showcase his talents with France at the World Cup in Russia this summer

But with ex-Dortmund chief scout Sven Mislintat now head of recruitment at the Emirates, working alongside former Barcelona director of football Raul Sanllehi, the Gunners are hopeful of prising Dembele away from the Nou Camp.


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French site L’Equipe reported this week that Mislintat has been in ‘continuous contact’ with Dembele, with his current club willing to accept an offer in the region of £88million.

The winger’s first season was heavily curtailed by injuries

AFP OR LICENSORS
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The winger’s first season was heavily curtailed by injuries

Speaking to Telefoot last month, he said: “I signed a five-year contract at Barcelona.

“I’m going to be in Barcelona a very long time. I’m not going to leave after a season.

“I’m not in my best form but little by little, it’s coming back.

“At Barcelona I have a better lifestyle. At Dortmund, I didn’t have a great lifestyle and I didn’t get injured, so it’s not that.”

New Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has set his sights on many players who came through ex-club Borussia Dortmund

Getty - Contributor
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New Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has set his sights on many players who came through ex-club Borussia Dortmund

That five-year deal includes a release clause but, with the figure needed to trigger it reported to be £350million, Barcelona appear to take a small loss on the winger this summer, after a disappointing debut season.

The French winger was regarded as one of Europe’s biggest young stars at Dortmund, but made only 12 league starts in 2017-18 after suffering long-term hamstring and thigh injuries.


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Barcelona signed Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool for £146m in January to make up for Dembele’s absence, but the Frenchman, who has 11 international caps to his name, has not given up on his career in Spain.

Should Mislintat pull off the transfer, it would be the latest player from his former German home to walk through the doors at Arsenal.

Arsenal’s new manager Unai Emery won three consecutive Europa League titles with Sevilla before becoming PSG boss in 2016

EPA
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Arsenal’s new manager Unai Emery won three consecutive Europa League titles with Sevilla before becoming PSG boss in 2016

Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both made the switch to the Emirates in January, while the club are now linked to Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papasthathopoulos.

Former PSG boss Emery, appointed in May as Arsene Wenger’s 22-year reign came to an end, is also reported to be looking at 34-year-old right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner, whose Juventus contract expires this summer.


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