Barcelona director of football Mateu Alemany has told Ousmane Dembele to leave the club “immediately” after failing to agree a new contract with the Catalan giants.
Alemany spoke about the French forward after it emerged he has been left out of the Barcelona squad to face Athletic Club in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey on Thursday, January 20.
The Barca director said he hopes Dembele can be sold before the close of the January transfer window after becoming frustrated at the lack of progress in contract negotiations with the forward and his agent, as reported by Eurosport.
“We’ve talked and talked, made various offers. We’ve tried to find a way but these offers have been systematically rejected by his agents… it seems obvious he does not want to continue at Barca and is not committed to Barca’s future project,” he said. “In this scenario he and his agents have been informed that he must leave immediately because we want players committed to this project and therefore we hope a transfer will take place before January 31.”
Alemany also backed Xavi’s decision to omit the forward from the squad to face Athletic at San Mames. Xavi has called up 22 players for the match with attacking youngsters Ferran Jutgla and Ez Abde making the list instead.
“On the football side the result is we do not want to have players who are not committed to Barca,” he added. “The club is obviously not the one that should decide this, it’s the coach, and he has. But he has all our support. It seems to us absolutely the correct approach.”
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Dembele’s Camp React to Alemany’s Statement
Barcelona may have made their intentions regarding Dembele crystal clear, but the Frenchman is still not thinking about leaving the club in January, according to Jordi Battle at Mundo Deportivo.
Sources close to the player have revealed the forward will not react to pressure from Barcelona and continue to insist the 24-year-old wants to renew his contract at the Camp Nou that expires in the summer.
Dembele’s agent, Moussa Sissoko, has already made it clear he’s not worried about threats from Barcelona, while coach Xavi told a pre-match press conference before the trip to Athletic that he won’t put the attacker in the stands for the rest of the season.
Yet the Barca boss did make it clear that he believes Dembele only has two options now.
“He says he wants to renew but there’s no resolution. So either he renews or we look for a solution in terms of him leaving the club,” he said. “He knows the project. He’s played every single minute he’s been able to since I’ve been coach. But him sitting in the stands for the rest of the season is not an option.”
Barca now have less than two weeks to try and find an exit for Dembele before the transfer window closes. However, it’s not clear yet which clubs, if any, have a concrete interest in signing a player who will be a free agent at the end of the season.
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