Paris Saint-Germain have signed Ousmane Dembele from Barcelona. The Frenchman has been linked with a move away from Neymar recently, and could form a partnership with Lee Kang-in if Neymar leaves.
Paris Saint-Germain announced the signing of Dembele on their official website on 12 December. Dembele will wear the number 23 shirt for Paris Saint-Germain and has signed a five-year contract until 2028. “I am very happy to join Paris Saint-Germain, I am now looking forward to playing in new colours and I hope I can continue to grow here and make all the club’s fans proud,” said Dembele on joining Paris.
Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi also reacted to Dembele’s arrival: “He will be an important player for Paris Saint-Germain. We are very happy to welcome him. The desire and determination he has shown in his move to Paris Saint-Germain has been fantastic and we are proud to welcome another World Cup winner to the club.”
Dembele joined Barcelona in 2017 and signed a contract with the club until June 2022. He is now officially out of contract on 1 July. “Dembele’s contract with Barcelona has expired and he is a free agent,” the Spanish outlet said.
Barcelona paid an astronomical transfer fee for Dembele in 2017. With the sudden departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain, they made an offer for Dembele. After back-and-forth negotiations, Dortmund paid a transfer fee of €140 million.
Dembele at Dortmund
Dembele at Barcelona
Dembele at Barcelona
Dembele’s fluid dribbling from the flanks, his pace, and his occasional attacking runs. He was tipped as Neymar’s heir apparent, so the potential was there. However, he was plagued by injuries and missed crucial games. To make matters worse, he wasn’t very organised and his disrespectful behaviour on the training ground came under scrutiny.
He was becoming less and less a part of Barcelona’s Plan A. However, with the arrival of Chavi Hernandez at the helm, things changed. With Lionel Messi gone, he reorganised the team around Dembele. Dembele’s game changed under him, too.
He was linked with a new contract in the second half of the 2021-22 season. There was talk that he would sign a new contract with Barcelona, but there was no response. An agreement was not reached by the end of the season and he officially became a free agent. However, he dramatically re-signed with Barcelona in July 2022, extending his contract until 2024.
Dembele made the leap to first-team football at Barcelona because coach Carlo Ancelotti believed in his ability. Dembele scored eight goals and provided nine assists in 35 appearances, including cup competitions, in the 2022-23 season. He also scored an attacking point in the UEFA Champions League. He joined the team in pre-season after the season ended, and was a standout performer in the El Clasico against Real Madrid.
Dembele and coach Chavi
“We can’t control the transfer market,” Chavi Hernandez said of Dembele. Dembele has a buyout clause and it’s his decision. I am happy with Dembele. All decisions are up to him. Dembele has told us he is happy,” he said.
However, Dembele has decided to join Paris Saint-Germain. European transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano said: “Dembele has given the green light to Paris Saint-Germain. It’s a very positive sign. Paris Saint-Germain have verbally agreed a five-year contract with Dembele’s representatives. Paris Saint-Germain will send an official letter to Barcelona.”
Santi Aouna of French outlet Foot Mercato reports that “Barcelona have officially approved the deal with Paris Saint-Germain”. However, “Barcelona had until 31 December to reach an agreement with Paris Saint-Germain. There is a clause that allows Dembele to leave the club as a free agent from August”.
“Dembele has a €50 million buyout clause,” said French outlet RMC. It expires on 31 July. At the end of the buyout period, Dembele’s transfer fee will double. If Paris Saint-Germain want to sign Dembele, they’ll have to trigger the €50 million clause quickly. At the moment, Dembele is very close to a move to Paris Saint-Germain,” he said.
Dembele and Xavi
Dembele finally says goodbye to Barcelona
온라인바카라“Unless something changes, Dembele will be a Paris Saint-Germain player. Paris Saint-Germain want to trigger the €50 million buyout clause as soon as possible. Paris Saint-Germain are really trying. The mood is clear,” he said, hinting at Dembele’s departure from Barcelona.
Paris Saint-Germain have built their squad around big-name superstars such as Lionel Messi, Neymar and Sergio Ramos. They have dreamed of dominating Europe beyond the French Ligue 1, but Champions League trophies have eluded them. This year, with an eye on the future, the club made six additions to the squad, including the likes of Milan Skriniar and Ugarte.
They also sacked coach Christophe Galtier and handed the reins to Luis Enrique. One of the more forward-thinking signings was Lee Kang-in. He was given more and more playing time at Mallorca and has developed into a key player in the team. In the 2022-23 season, he became the first South Korean to score multiple goals and double-digit attacking points in Primera Liga. He was briefly linked with a move away from the club in the winter, but quickly refocused and showed top-class potential.
Neymar (centre) and Lee Kang-in (right)
Lee Kang-in ⓒYonhap
He was linked with Paris Saint-Germain during the national team trials in June, and according to European transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano, he completed his medical in Mallorca via Paris. When Lee parted ways with Valencia, he opted to forgo a signing bonus in favour of a future transfer fee. At the time, the terms of his transfer to Paris Saint-Germain were in place. He is believed to have taken around €4.4 million.
Upon joining Paris Saint-Germain, Lee said, “It’s a team I’ve known since I was a kid. Paris Saint-Germain is one of the best teams in the world. They have the best players in the world. I can’t wait to start my adventure with Paris Saint-Germain. I want to win every game and help them win as many titles as possible,” said Lee.
“I am a midfielder who can play right or left winger. I can play in different positions. He is comfortable on the ball. He has a great desire to win. I want to be part of the team and contribute to the team’s victory. I am honoured to be the first Korean in the history of Paris Saint-Germain. I’m playing for Korea and I’m playing for Paris Saint-Germain. I will always do my best and show my best on the pitch,” he said, showing his confidence.
After completing the transfer process, Lee trained with his teammates in a cheerful atmosphere. Neymar, who was also in the team’s training session, smiled at Lee and continued to have fun. The rest of the players, including Mbappe, who had been given extra rest after the A match, joined the team for a full-scale team training.
Lee Kang-in training with PSG ⓒYonhap
Lee Kang-in and coach Enrique ⓒYonhap
Lee Kang-in ⓒYonhap
He then played in a pre-season friendly against Le Havre (France) at PSG’s campus in Paris, France. Playing as a right-back, he led the team’s attack and showed a sharp performance. He wore the number 19 on his back. Luca Hernandez, Marco Asensio, and Manuel Ugarte also played alongside him.
Paris Saint-Germain’s attacking work was carried out through Lee Kang-In, with his incisive passing between the flanks and the centre. They linked up well with their full-back options on the flanks, and exchanged fluid passes. His passing into space and pressing was as good as we saw in Mallorca.
However, he complained of hamstring pain just before half-time. Lee suddenly grabbed his thigh in the 43rd minute. He had overloaded it while sprinting on a Paris Saint-Germain counter-attack and looked uncomfortable and went to the bench.
Hamstring injuries usually require three to four weeks of recovery. It needs to be carefully managed to prevent recurrence. A hamstring injury in pre-season could have been a setback. “Lee Kang-in is injured,” said a local French newspaper. The Paris Saint-Germain newcomer played very well against Le Havre, but ended up leaving the game early. He suffered a hamstring injury and left the field just before halftime. We have to check his injury status.”
Neymar and Lee Kang-in ⓒYonhap
Lee Kang-in and Neymar ⓒYonhap
Lee Kang-in ⓒYonhap
Although he had no problems with his daily routine, he did not take part in the team’s pre-season tour of Japan. It is believed that he missed training as a precautionary measure to prevent further injury, but he was unable to actively participate in the upcoming pre-season schedule. In fact, he did not play in the three matches against Al Nasr, Cerezo Osaka, and Inter Milan and watched his teammates play from the bench.
In the friendly against Jeonbuk Hyundai in Busan, he came on as a second-half substitute. He was up front alongside Neymar, but he wasn’t 100 per cent fit. After the end of pre-season, his fitness gradually returned, and French media outlets announced that he would start the Ligue 1 opener.
However, there is a question mark over whether we will see a Neymar partnership. Neymar joined the Paris Saint-Germain tour during pre-season but has not trained since returning to France. He wasn’t even invited to shoot the poster announcing the new season.
It’s clear that Neymar isn’t in Paris Saint-Germain’s plans. With the addition of Dembele, the speculation of Neymar’s departure is even stronger. Some reports have suggested that he could become a free agent and join another club.
Neymar ⓒYonhap News
Neymar and Lee Kang-in ⓒYonhap
Neymar has been linked to Premier League side Chelsea, but has also been strongly linked to his hometown club Barcelona, where he won the treble. Spanish media outlet ‘El Chiringito’ reported, “Neymar and Barcelona have reached an agreement. He will sign a 2+1 year contract and receive €13 million a year. Barcelona want Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain to terminate their contracts and leave.”
Given Barcelona’s finances, it’s not easy for them to afford Neymar’s high price tag. However, Spain’s Catalan radio reported that “Barcelona is in talks with Bar