Barcelona to send forward Dembélé to Paris Saint-Germain
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — France forward Ousmane Dembélé joined Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday after Barcelona agreed to a transfer deal worth 50.4 million euros ($55.2 million) for the explosive winger.
Dembélé's arrival to PSG on a five-year contract comes amid speculation that Neymar could be on his way out. The French powerhouse also faces uncertainty over the future of Kylian Mbappé.
“I’m delighted to be joining Paris Saint-Germain and can’t wait to play for my new club," Dembélé said in a statement released by PSG. “I hope I can continue to grow here and make all the club’s fans proud.”
The 26-year-old Dembélé, born in Vernon outside Paris, came up through the Rennes youth academy. He played the 2016-17 season with Borussia Dortmund before he moved to Spain.
Dembélé joined Barcelona in 2017 on a then club-record transfer from Dortmund that with variables was set to reach 147 million euros (then $173 million) as the club sought a young talent after the unwanted exit of Neymar — to PSG.
After suffering serious injuries early in his stay at Barcelona, Dembélé consolidated himself as one of its most irreplaceable players thanks to his speed and playmaking. He renewed his contract last summer and was set to stay at Barcelona until the end of next season.
Dembélé scored 62 goals in 185 appearances for Barcelona and helped it win three Spanish leagues and two Copa del Rey titles.
He will now play for former Barcelona and Spain coach Luis Enrique.
Barcelona said in a statement that Dembélé exercised a buyout clause in his contract to leave the club.
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández said that he will miss the winger.
“He has been a good guy. He helped us, and we cared for him and gave him an important role,” Xavi said. “It is very disappointing that he has decided to leave.”
Dembélé's exit comes with the Spanish champion needing to reduce its debt and lower its wage burden. It will leave Raphinha, Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati as its forwards in support of star striker Robert Lewandowski.
Barcelona opens its season on Sunday with a visit to Getafe in the Spanish league.
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