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Barcelona 'hoping to fund move for Depay by Dembele and Braithwaite'

  /  autty

Barcelona have not given up on signing Lyon captain Memphis Depay in January but will have to sell Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite to fund the move, according to reports.

The Dutchman came close to joining the Nou Camp on deadline day earlier this month but the club pulled the plug at the eleventh hour after failing to offload Dembele, who is on wages of around £200,000 a week.

Lyon had dropped their asking price for their talisman to just £23million, but crippled Barcelona still couldn't afford him after being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic - posting losses of £88m in a disastrous financial year.

And according to Spanish outlet Sport, the cash-strapped club will be reliant on generating cash from player sales before bringing in Depay, with £136m flop Dembele and unfancied Braithwaite set to be sold.

Its front page says that Barcelona have 'already agreed' to sign Depay in January, but that they are 'waiting for departures to reduce the wage bill'.

The report adds that Barca are 'already working to find a solution to the future of Dembele and is testing the market to place Braithwaite'.

Dembele, who has failed to meet expectations since his big money move from Dortmund in 2017, was set to move to Manchester United at the end of the transfer window but snubbed the opportunity, leaving Barca boss Ronald Koeman furious after scuppering their hopes of signing Depay.

The Frenchman's contract expires at the end of next season, so the club should still be able to get a fair price for his signature - although they'll certainly be taking a huge hit on the fee they spent on him.

Braithwaite, meanwhile, has played just 11 times for the club - failing to feature this season - and the club will now be looking to get him off their wage bill. The 29-year-old was an emergency signing from Leganes in January and has scored once.

Koeman had made Depay one of his top transfer targets since being appointed by the Catalan side this summer, and a move would reunite the pair, with Depay working with him when he was Holland boss.

If Barcelona fail to create the funds to sign Depay in January, they could have a chance to snap him up for nothing next summer, when his Lyon deal expires.

The former United man admitted his move to Barca was 'nearly done' but said he was still hopeful the transfer could be resurrected.

'Yes, it was pretty close,' he said. 'We don't have to go into all the details, but indeed we were nearly done. Unfortunately, certain rules stopped it. I believe that everything in my life happens for a reason. If it has to happen, it will happen'.