Manchester City were offered Barcelona starlet that Pep Guardiola is 'in love' with in summer transfer window

Manchester City reportedly turned down the opportunity sign a Barcelona star in the summer.

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) celebrates with Barcelona's French forward Ousmane Dembele after scoring during the Spanish league football match Levante UD against FC Barcelona at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium in Valencia on May 11, 2021. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP) (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Barcelona were looking to offload some of their highest earners in the summer due to their well-documented injury crisis as they looked to pay the salaries of newcomers such as Memphis Depay and former Cityzens Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero.

One player that looked likely to depart the La Liga giants was Ousmane Dembele - who picked up an injury during the Euro 2020 tournament in June that kept him out of action until this month.

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According to Diario AS, the costly attacker was offered to Manchester City, however the Premier League champions turned him down.

SEVILLE, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 27: Ousmane Dembele of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring their side's first goal during the La Liga Santander match between Sevilla FC and FC Barcelona at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on February 27, 2021 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

Barca had sent director of football Mateu Alemany to Manchester in an attempt to strike a deal with the club but Pep Guardola’s side weren’t interested – potentially something to do with his £210k p/w wages or the fact he has spent over 600 days sidelined since his arrival in Spain.

The Frenchman joined Barcelona in 2017 for around £120 million after enjoying a hugely successful spell as a teenager with Borussia Dortmund, however has since been plagued with injuries.

The 24-year-old picked up a knee injury during the Euro 2020 tournament with France which saw him miss out on the start of Barcelona’s La Liga campaign.

Dembele only returned from his four month absence when he came on as a substitute against Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League last week, however he has since already picked up a hamstring problem which could see him sidelined for another few weeks.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JUNE 19: Ousmane Dembele of France looks to cross the ball whilst under pressure from Attila Fiola of Hungary during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group F match between Hungary and France at Puskas Arena on June 19, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Tibor Illyes - Pool/Getty Images)

Despite his well-known injury issues, Barcelona were reportedly well aware that Pep Guardiola was ‘in love’ with Dembele and didn’t back down in their attempts to move him onto the Premier League side – making three separate offers to City.

After City turned down an initial simple transfer deal due to financial fair play difficulties, Barca returned with the proposition of a swap deal that would see Dembele and Ronald Araujo move to England, while Aymeric Laporte and Raheem Sterling would go the other way.

Once that too was turned down, Alemany attempted a straight exchange of players between Dembele and Sterling, however that deal collapsed when the City winger refused to join the Catalan club.

For now Dembele remains a Barcelona player, however it is likely he will receive plenty of interest in the January transfer window, with Newcastle United one club rumoured to be keen on his signature.

Dortmund's French midfielder Ousmane Dembele (L) and Dortmund's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (R) celebrate after the second goal for Dortmund during the German Cup DFB Pokal semifinal football match between FC Bayern Munich and BVB Borussia Dortmund in Munich, on April 26, 2017. / (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)