Barcelona close in on deal to make Ousmane Dembele second most expensive player of all time

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Barcelona are closing in on a deal for Ousmane Dembele which would make the Borussia Dortmund forward the second most expensive footballer in history, according to reports.

Various media outlets across Europe suggest a deal which could rise to €150m (£138.4million) is on the verge of being completed and could be made official within the next 24 hours.

If the transfer goes through at that price, it would be second only to the £200.6million that Barcelona banked for Neymar when the Brazil striker bought his way out of his Nou Camp contract earlier this month and joined Paris St Germain.

The previous record transfer fee was the £89m Manchester United paid Juventus for Paul Pogba last summer.

Since Neymar’s departure, Barca have been linked with several big-money signings and Dembele has always been near the top of their shopping list, along with Liverpool’s Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

At the same time as Barca’s reported interest in Dembele came to light, the player skipped training with Dortmund and was subsequently suspended by the Bundesliga side.

Dortmund then revealed they had rejected an offer from Barca for their young forward – who is under contract until 2021 – because “it did not correspond to the extraordinary footballing and additional value of the player and the present economic situation of the European transfer market.”

However, the two clubs now appear to have reached an agreement that will see the Frenchman move to the five-time European champions.

Dembele joined Dortmund in May 2016 from Rennes on a five-year contract and has attracted top European suitors after a breakout season at the Westfalenstadion.

He scored 10 times in 49 appearances in all competitions during the last campaign while he broke his duck for France with the winner in the 3-2 friendly triumph over England in June.

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They say never go back but these three didn't listen.

They say never go back or dwell on the past in life, but in football - those sentiments don't seem to carry much weight.

Indeed, there's an extensive back catalogue of players who have returned to their former teams after plying their trade elsewhere.

And following Zlatan Ibrahimovic's return to Manchester United on a one-year deal, we look at 10 stars over the years who have gone back to what they know on permanent contracts.

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Manchester United and Manchester City lead the way as Premier League clubs break transfer spending record

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Premier League spending in the current transfer window is already at an all-time record level, with a week remaining.

Figures released by Deloitte’s Sports Business Group showed top-flight clubs had spent £1.17billion on players this summer by 9am on Thursday, breaking the record of £1.165m set last year.

That was already a 34 per cent rise on the previous record for a single window – and with time remaining this time around the numbers could rise to even more breathtaking levels.

Deloitte consultant Chris Stenson believes the unprecedented spending is in line with reasonable expectations, given the riches available to Premier League clubs from the record broadcast deals which took effect last season.

He said: “The level of transfer expenditure in this summer’s window has been extraordinary but when analysed in the context of record broadcast, commercial and matchday revenues, Premier League clubs are spending within their means.

“Their ability to generate these record revenues and attract the world’s very best playing talent continues to drive the Premier League’s status as the most commercially successful football league in the world.”

Manchester United’s £75m signing of Romelu Lukaku has headlined a frenetic summer of spending, with Chelsea and Arsenal also parting with huge fees for strikers Alvaro Morata and Alexandre Lacazette respectively.

Tiemoue Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger are further expensive purchases for the defending champions, while Manchester City have paid out fees of £40m and above for Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker and Bernardo Silva amid plenty of other business.

Mohamed Salah cost Liverpool a reported £34.3m while Merseyside rivals Everton have recruited ambitiously, with a deal for Gylfi Sigurdsson believed to be worth up to £45m and the likes of Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane and Jordan Pickford also arriving at great expense.

Even newly-promoted Huddersfield have broken their transfer record four times this summer as the impact of the television deal is felt throughout the top flight.

And Stenson added: “We expect further significant expenditure in the next seven days as clubs seek value in the market.

“Last summer, Premier League clubs spent around £300m in the final week of the window, more than they did throughout the entire January 2017 window.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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