According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona have identified PSV Eindhoven’s Donyell Malen as the perfect alternative to Depay. However, the Catalans are aware that securing the player’s signature will not be easy.
Malen rose through the ranks at Ajax before spending time at the Arsenal Academy. He eventually moved to PSV as a teenager in the summer of 2017, joining the youth side before breaking into the first team the same season.
Since then, the Dutchman has been a constant feature for PSV and has already registered 25 goals and nine assists for his team this season. Barcelona have been linked with the player before and Ronald Koeman is aware of the 22-year-old’s abilities, having handed him his international debut with the Netherlands squad in 2019.
As such, the Dutch manager has earmarked the player as an alternative signing if the Catalans fail to strike a deal with Depay, who will be a free agent in the summer.
The Lyon star’s representatives have been in conversation with Barcelona’s director of football, Mateu Alemany, who has even presented an offer for the player. The Catalans, though, are prepared if Depay were to reject the offer, with Malen on their radar.
However, Koeman is aware that a move would be next to impossible to complete for a couple of reasons. Malen’s current contract runs until the summer of 2024 and his value has skyrocketed thanks to his performances this season.
Interestingly, the player is represented by Mino Raiola, who is a tough negotiator. This, coupled with Barcelona’s poor financial situation, would make it very hard for the Catalans to secure Malen’s services in the summer.
Barcelona losing ground in the La Liga title race
Barcelona stuttered to a 0-0 draw against Atletico Madrid on Saturday, which effectively opens up the La Liga title race. The Catalans moved into second place in the table and are two points behind Diego Simeone’s side with three games left to play.
However, Real Madrid could cause Koeman and his team more misery by winning their game against Sevilla on Sunday. This will see the Los Blancos move to second, tied on points with Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona are preparing for an eventful summer ahead, but the outcome of their La Liga season could affect how they operate in the transfer market.