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Everything Barcelona chiefs have said about Ousmane Dembele to Man Utd

Ousmane Dembele has been linked with a loan move to Manchester United with the club having been frustrated in their pursuit of Jadon Sancho.

The winger is yet to start for Barca this season, having played just nine games for the La Liga giants in the last campaign after suffering injury problems.

He could be handed an escape route from his Nou Camp limbo with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, in the form of either a loan or a permanent move. 

But there appear to be mixed messages coming from the Catalan club about Dembele as transfer deadline day looms on Monday.

Sporting director Ramon Planes has insisted that Barcelona are "counting" on the 23-year-old and that there have been no talks with United.

But on Saturday, head coach Ronald Koeman appeared to open the door to a potential move to the Premier League.

"Dembele is a Barcelona player," said Koeman while previewing Sunday's game against Sevilla – before indicating that the ball is in Dembele's court in terms of a possible move.

"[His future] depends on what he thinks. I've not spoken clearly with him about it. We will see, two days left."

Teenage winger Ansu Fati has been preferred to Dembele in both Barcelona's La Liga games so far – and has rewarded Koeman's faith in him with three goals and an assist.

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With Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann in attack and Philippe Coutinho also on form, Koeman acknowledged the competition Dembele faces at the Nou Camp – but said the player has expressed his unhappiness.

"We have a lot of competition in attack," Koeman added.

"Ansu [Fati] started the first two games ahead of him. If a player's not happy, they can speak to me. And Ousmane's not said anything to me. If he stays, I'm counting on him and he will get chances to play."

However, after a 3-0 win over Celta Vigo last week, Koeman insisted he wouldn't have included Dembele in the matchday squad if the France international was headed for the exit.

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Dembele was on the bench for the match, but it was Machado Trincão who came on for Fati in the second half with Barca 2-0 up.

"If I thought that [Dembele should leave] then I wouldn't have included him in the squad, but he was in the squad," Koeman said after the game.

"It was a match where it had been 1-0 for a while and there were tired players.

"I think that Pedri and Trincao are players who can provide more defensively than Ousmane. That was the decision, it was in that sense."

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Meanwhile, Planes has insisted Dembele would be given a chance to impress under new boss Koeman, who took charge in August.

The sporting director said: "There are no negotiations with Manchester United. He's a player we're counting on.

"We know his potential and we hope he can show his best, with all the changes there have been in the team.

"We hope to enjoy his potential and footballing talent. I'm sure he'll have a good year for us."

With the clock ticking ahead of Monday's 11pm transfer deadline, it remains to be seen whether Dembele will end up at Old Trafford this season.

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