It's rare for an American to find himself in the middle of a tug of war, let alone Bayern Munich and Barcelona, two of the giants of European soccer.
But that's where Sergino Dest
Bayern was reportedly set to sign Dest this week, but Barcelona general director Oscar Grau
appears to have moved in at the last minute and made a better offer that
has been accepted: a transfer fee of 20 million euros ($22 million) plus 5 million euros ($6 million) in possible bonus payments.
The catch: Barcelona needs sell Portuguese right back Nelson Semedo
-- a deal to send him to Wolves is in the works -- and Barcelona and Ajax have to agree on the installment payments for Dest.
If Barcelona lands Dest, he will be coached by Ronald
, the former Dutch national team coach who tried unsuccessfully to convince him to play for the Netherlands after Dest's strong performance for the USA at the 2019 Under-20 World Cup and
debut for Ajax in the summer of 2019.
Koeman is high on Dest, saying recently that "he could adapt easily in any club.” Dest would likely slot in at right back, but he can also play
on the left side.
Spaniard Sergi Roberto
, 28, is Barca's other returning right back. It has yet to play a LaLiga game. It opens on Sunday against Villarreal after having its
opening two games postponed. American reunion.
Barca's other American is another 19-year-old Konrad de la Fuente
teammate on the USA's 2019 Under-20 World Cup team. De la Fuente has been training with the first team but is expected to start the season at Barca B, which plays in Spain's third tier.
For six months, Bayern was the favorite to land the 19-year-old Ajax defender.
Talk of a possible move to Bayern Munich accelerated when Dest was seen at Bayern's home game with
Hoffenheim in February -- he said he went on his own to check things out -- but transfer talk ended in March when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The 2019-20 Dutch season never resumed -- Ajax
was in first place on goal difference over AZ but no champion was declared -- and a deal for Dest was never concluded. Bayern
Bayern Munich's starting right back is Benjamin Pavard
, but the 2018 French World Cup champion's future at Bayern is at center back.
With Pavard injured,
started at right back in Bayern's run to the 2020 UEFA Champions League title, but he is too valuable in midfield. Dest would be a replacement for Alvaro Odriozola
backup who returned to Spain after a six-month loan deal with Real Madrid ended.
Dest didn't start Ajax's first two games of the Eredivisie season, but he came on as a substitute in both