Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele has offered a telling update on his future at the club amid speculation over whether he will continue at the Camp Nou next season.
Dembele is out of contract in 2022 which means Barca must extend his new contract or look to sell in the summer to avoid the possibility of seeing him walk away for free when his contract expires next year.
The 24-year-old is currently on international duty with France preparing for the European Championship and spoke to French newspaper L’Equipe about how he’s in no rush to extend his deal at Barcelona.
“I don’t know, we’ll see. We will meet with the management,” he said. “I’m not in a hurry and neither are they, we’ll see what happens. I’m totally focused on the Euros, then I’ll go on holiday. It’s been a long season.”
Dembele managed to shrug off the injury problems that have plagued him throughout his Barcelona career in 2020-21 to feature regularly. The Frenchman made 44 appearances in all competitions, scoring 11 goals along the way.
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Barcelona Offers New Five-Year Contract?
Barcelona has reportedly offered Dembele a new five-year contract. Talks “have intensified” and are said to be on the “right track” but “a final OK will not be easy,” according to Gabriel Sans at Mundo Deportivo.
The report adds there are currently “economic” and “sporting” differences between the two parties. Barca now consider Dembele to be an “essential” part of the squad, but the forward’s recent comments suggest he’s in no rush to sign a new deal.
Dembele would surely not lack for offers if he does decide against renewing his contract at the Camp Nou. The forward is an exciting attacking option who has the ability to torment defenders with his skill on the ball and electric pace.
Coach Ronald Koeman has already made it clear he wants Dembele to stay. He said in April, “Ousmane’s career this season is very good, physically he has improved a lot, it is the key to his consistency. If it’s up to me, of course, I’d like him to stay with us.”
Dembele ‘Hungry’ For Trophies
Dembele also made it clear in his interview with L’Equipe that he’s hungry to add more trophies to his collection. The forward lifted the Copa del Rey this season but has his eye on some far bigger prizes.
“The World Cup is the most beautiful trophy that can exist in football, but I am a competitor. I’m hungry, to win La Liga again, to win the Champions League, the Euro with Les Bleus,” he said. “Every year, it starts all over again and we forget everything. It hasn’t changed me, I remain focused. Winning the Champions League, that would be wonderful, it’s an incredible competition.”
Barca has already set about trying to strengthen the squad in order to challenge for titles next season. Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia, and Emerson Royal have all arrived already, while Lionel Messi is now expected to sign a new contract.
Keeping Messi will be key to Barca’s hopes of success, with the captain finishing 2020-21 as La Liga’s top scorer for the fifth year in a row, and Dembele also spoke about what it’s like to play with the Argentine.
“It’s not a pressure to play with him, he gives a lot of advice on the field. He always tells me to provoke the opponent, to shoot, to dribble,” he added. “He asks me to look back, he is always positioned for me to pass the ball to him.”
The arrival of Aguero will add another dimension to the Barca attack for next season, while teenage sensation Ansu Fati should also be fit after an injury-plagued 2020-21. The signs are also there that Messi will continue, although Dembele’s latest comments offer few clues as to the Frenchman’s plans for the future.