Bayern-Barcelona tug of war over Sergino Dest

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 finds himself.

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 Koeman, 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, Dest's 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 picture. 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, Joshua Kimmich 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, Pavard's 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 games.
12 comments about "Bayern-Barcelona tug of war over Sergino Dest".
  1. frank schoon, September 23, 2020 at 9:03 a.m.

    Dest, I think, should stay with Ajax for the next couple of years to really learn the game. He hasn't even won a starting position at Ajax while Bayern and Barcelona are fighting over him....I'm sorry but I think his agent is not handling it in Dest's best interest. There have been plenty of Ajax youth going to foreign teams thinking they can make it without first having fully played and developed with the A-team for a couple of years and return either to Holland to play for some lesser known club somewhere else. 

    Dest has not proven himself at all and to jump right away into high pressure/demand situation that requires a lot more than having sat on the bench at Ajax and hoping for an occasional start is not good for him. He  needs to mature first ,stay with Ajax, and then go to a club like Bayern or Barca when he has gained more experience.

  2. Wooden Ships replied, September 23, 2020 at 10:59 a.m.

    I can't argue with that Frank. Promise is what he's shown so far. If he hasn't claimed the starting spot, not on the 11 the last two, it is curious. We know the incentive for agents and we know that a move to either of these two sides probably has Dest thinking of stardom. Hard to hold back a young talent from getting there sooner, rather than later. With Koeman at Barca, that might make the difference for him. Although, how long will Koeman stay? 

  3. frank schoon replied, September 23, 2020 at 11:17 a.m.

    Ships, some of the Ajax former teammates of Cruyff are of the opinion that it would be better for Dest to stay with Ajax and actually learn the ropes for a couple years  so that he is on solid footing. Look at van der Beek at Man Utd who just left Ajax at 23 last month and is already a favorite there. The same with Ziyech at Chelsea playing as wing there. He's already taken all the free kicks and corners and he's been there only a couple of months. I recommend to check out Ziyech on this video. Google this and check the video. Notice the difference in how he plays as compared to Pulisic. Both are wings but Ziyech can do so much more....

    Chelsea-debuut Ziyech: nu al nummer één voor vrije trappen en corners |

    I think now they don't want to allow Dest to play at all in case of injury. But I really lament him leaving Ajax for I think he would be so much better for the USMNT as a leader. The only reason Barcelona is interested is because of Koeman( BTW Frank de Boer is coaching the Dutch National Team) otherwise Barcelona would not have been interested in Dest. You can't tell that Barcelona can't find a better and more experienced back than Dest....

  4. Wooden Ships replied, September 23, 2020 at 5:54 p.m.

    I did see that de Boer was named manager. Evidently, Dest has made his intentions known and desires a transfer, so it's just a matter of when now. I wouldn't expect him to be an instant starter with either side, but a player/starter in the making. 

    Pulisic, as long as he can stay healthy, will give Lampard options and he has impacted positively Chelsea. Now, whether or not, he will be able to add dimensions to his play is questionable. Will he every have fluidity/rhythm with the ball? Will his left and right ever be indistinguishable. Ziyech does offer more comprehension and is fun to see what he does with and without the ball. Little doubt he is confident every time he strikes the ball. This sort of goes back to when we were discussing the league CP could have gone to besides the Bundesliga. I wanted Spain and you Holland. But, he's at Chelsea now and contributing and getting better, more confidence. I'm always looking down the road with the USMNT and the level and amount of players we can call in. 

  5. frank schoon replied, September 24, 2020 at 8:42 a.m.

    I think we both agree that it would have been better for CP to have gone somewhere else than Germany. German's emphasis on their running style of play has definitely improved CP's in his running/attacking play but nothing else. It left him very one dimensional type of players and therefore easier to read and guard as what he's capableof doing at the moment. But with Ziyech players don't know what he's going to do, dribble? pass? penetrate? shift the attack? take you on 1v1 or drop it off to his support? You simply don't know what he's going to do ,you can't read him, and he reads the game well. What that means his opponents will give him more space and time to operate for he always has 1 or 2 or possibly 3  options he can use and therefore they will not commit to him. Ziyech wasn't like that when he came to Ajax but 4years at Ajax he developed into a very smart player and very versatile technical player. Notice he doesn't speed to beat the opponent

    This is the problem I have with our boys going to Germany to play, they just improve one-dimensionally a. It's a shame CP was never developed at Ajax for I think he would have gained savviness,  use of more variety of skills and just play an overal better brand of soccer.

  6. R2 Dad, September 23, 2020 at 8 p.m.

    If he does go, would hope it's to spain rather than Bayern if only so BM doesn't further strengthen. A competitive Bundesliga is predicated on a couple teams catching up to BM.
    I like the idea of a loan away from Ajax if he isn't given more starts, rather than a transfer. Gives everyone more options, and the loan can be structured such that he will get so many minutes &/or starts. A transfer might just mean he sits on a bench in spain or germany instead of the NL.

  7. Wooden Ships replied, September 23, 2020 at 8:06 p.m.

    That all sounds good and right to me R2. 

  8. frank schoon replied, September 24, 2020 at 8:46 a.m.

    R2, yes , get him to Spain where he has a Dutch coach who has played at Barcelona and is a student of Cruyff's philosophy of play. But I still laments that he didn't stay at Ajax to get some soccer development and experience like Ziyech did and now plays for Chelsea....Check that video I gave to Ships to check out  Ziyech with Chelsea. See how different and more complex Ziyech plays the wing as compared to CP

  9. R2 Dad replied, September 26, 2020 at 12:59 a.m.

    I will check that out. Just saw this clip of Ajax and thought of you:

  10. frank schoon replied, September 26, 2020 at 9:02 a.m.

    R2, Thanks ,I watched it....There were some things in the explanation not correct but he did a decent job....I made a comment upon telling him about the 3-4-3 being 3-1-2-1-3

  11. Bob Ashpole replied, September 26, 2020 at 2:11 p.m.

    Yeah, and the 433 features a back playing as a midfielder in the attack. So those silly "formation" numbers really don't tell you how a team plays.

  12. Bob Ashpole replied, September 26, 2020 at 2:15 p.m.

    Just a thought. You could call it 424 but the modern version has 2 forwards dropping into midfield when out of possession. "Formations" don't matter. Smart skillful play does.

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications