Ousmane Dembele has reportedly come to a final decision on his future and will not extend his contract at Barcelona which expires at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.
Albert Masnou at Diario Sport reports that only a “drastic change” of mind will see Dembele stay at the Camp Nou and continue his career with the club now. The forward is “dissatisfied” with the offer on the table from Barcelona and the club has lost faith he will renew and expect to lose him on a free transfer.
Dembele is also thought to believe that a “change of scenery” would be good for him after a difficult time at the Camp Nou since joining from Borussia Dortmund back in the summer of 2017.
The forward was signed by Barcelona for an initial fee of €105m (plus up to €42m in add-ons) following the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain. However, he has not been able to live up to his lofty price tag and has been plagued by injury throughout his Barcelona career.
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Barca Can Afford To Keep Dembele
Finances may be an issue in Dembele’s decision, but Barcelona CEO Ferran Reverter has said the club can afford to renew his contract despite the club’s ongoing financial issues. The CEO told a news conference on Wednesday, December 1 that signings could also be made in the January transfer window.
“There is no doubt that Barcelona will sign or can sign [players] in January and the summer,” he said, as reported by Marca. “Of course we can renew Dembele. It could take a little longer on the operational side because we have to look at it in detail.”
Yet Barca may not be able to match the wages on offer at other clubs. Dembele’s agent, Moussa Sissoko, is said to have asked for a “Ballon d’Or salary” for the 24-year-old, as reported by Foot Mercato.
Xavi Wants Dembele to Stay
Dembele’s departure would be a blow for Xavi who is well-known for his desire to play with wingers. The new Barcelona coach has already made it clear he wants the Frenchman to continue his career at the Camp Nou.
He told reporters at his unveiling as the new Barca boss that Dembele’s renewal was a “priority” and added, “coached well, he can be one of best in the world in his position. He has all the qualities to be a superstar.”
Barca will surely dip into the transfer market if Dembele leaves to look for a replacement. The Catalan giants are keen on signing Ferran Torres from Manchester City but need to agree a fee with the Premier League champions, as reported by Toni Juanmarti at Diario Sport.
Talks over personal terms with Torres are at an “advanced” stage but the two clubs are still some way apart. Barca want to pay around €40 million for the 21-year-old, but Pep Guardiola’s side have asked for double that amount which is likely to be out of the Catalans’ financial reach.