Ousmane Dembele’s future at Barcelona continues to make headlines with the French forward failing to show up at the club’s training ground on Sunday, January 24 due to illness.
The Catalan giants confirmed the news in a post on Twitter.
The 24-year-old had been expected to report to the Ciutat Esportiva with the rest of his teammates, with Xavi set to announce his matchday squad for Barcelona’s La Liga clash against Alaves on Sunday evening.
However, he failed to attend and instead informed the club he was suffering from stomach problems in a move that has not gone done at all well at the Camp Nou, according to Javi Miguel at Diario AS.
Miguel adds that “no one at the club believed” Dembele’s excuse and Barcelona are now considering sanctioning the forward for his absence. No decision has been made yet but the case is now “in the hands of the club’s legal department.”
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Dembele Left Out Again
Barcelona have also confirmed that Dembele has been left out of the squad to face Alaves. Xavi has called up 21 players for the trip to Mendizorrotza in a game the Catalans really need to win after successive defeats to Real Madrid and Athletic Club.
Xavi does have plenty of attacking options despite leaving Dembele out and losing teenager Ansu Fati to injury. Striker Luuk de Jong has returned to the squad after suspension, Martin Braithwaite is fit again after knee surgery, new signing Ferran Torres is also included while Xavi has once again called up youngsters Ez Abde and Ferran Jutgla.
Dembele’s absence is no real surprise given he was also left out of the squad to face Athletic last time out. Xavi was asked about the Frenchman in his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s trip to Alaves and said his situation has not changed, as reported by ESPN.
“There’s no debate. I’ve been very clear. It depends on him,” he said. “Ousmane’s situation hasn’t changed. He knows perfectly well what his situation is. He is calm, he is training well and he is part of our training group. There are still days left [in the transfer window] but there’s no alternative [he either signs or leaves].”
Chelsea Interested in Dembele?
It still remains to be seen if Dembele will leave Barcelona before the close of the January transfer window at the end of the month. Premier League side Chelsea have been linked with a move and are considering making an offer, according to Diario Sport.
Manager Thomas Tuchel knows Dembele well from working with him at Borussia Dortmund but didn’t give much away when asked about possible interest in the attacker at a press conference, as reported by Marca.
“He is a very good player and he’s in his top level. I’m very fortunate to have trained him in my time at Dortmund. It was only one year, it should have been longer, but I needed to leave and he decided to leave,” he said. “I have absolutely no idea why he is in that situation and I have no idea what the situation and detail is. I know how I feel about it when it is about my players so it’s better not to talk.”
Barcelona have made it clear they want Dembele to leave as soon as possible but may still struggle to offload the Frenchman in the winter as clubs know he will be a free agent by the end of the season.