Real Madrid have contacted Ousmane Dembele's agent to sound out possibly paying his release clause and signing the player from bitter enemies FC Barcelona this summer according to a report shared by El Nacional.
Dembele extended his terms with the Catalans last year until June 30, 2024. His release clause was set at a reasonable €100 million ($110 million), but that figure halves to €50 million ($55 million) this summer in the last transfer window that Barca can realistically hope to receive any money for the number '7'.
Dembele's precarious situation has a string of top European clubs on alert. In recent weeks, El Nacional has reported that Bayern Munich have already told Barca they will pay what it takes to get the World Cup winner out of his contract, and that Paris Saint Germain are trying to negotiate with Dembele's representative Moussa Sissoko.
On Friday, the same Catalan newspaper shares a sensational report from Madrid-Barcelona which details how Madrid president Florentino Perez has allegedly put Dembele on his possible list of reinforcements ahead of the 2023/2024 season.
Able to play on either wing and with either foot, Dembele is an attractive prospect for any top team and could provide competition for Brazilian pair Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo who man the left and right flanks.
With Karim Benzema aged 35 and winding down his career, Rodrygo might soon move into the center as a striker which frees up space on the right where Dembele currently plays for Barca first team coach Xavi Hernandez.
According to the report, Perez has already contacted Sissoko to sound out a possible transfer. While Dembele appears happy in Catalonia, though, this is football and nothing can be ruled out - which includes a switch to Barca's eternal enemies.
Given that Sissoko and Dembele can pocket half of the release clause, he may push his client to do the unthinkable. Should the report be accurate and Dembele go ahead with the move, he would echo the trajectory of Luis Figo who famously crossed over from the Blaugrana to Los Blancos when then newly-elected president Perez triggered the Portuguese's release clause and smashed the world transfer record.
Losing Dembele - who they paid Borussia Dortmund €105 million ($116 million) for in 2017 - for more than half this sum would be an embarrassment to Barca no matter where his next destination, but seeing him walk to Real Madrid would be the ultimate insult that would immediately vilify Sissoko and 'The Mosquito' to Culers.