Barcelona is reportedly “racing against the clock” to secure Ousmane Dembele’s long-term future at the club amid interest from some of Europe’s top sides in the France international.
The 23-year-old is out of contract in 2022 and Barcelona wants Dembele to sign a three-year contract extension before the end of the season, according to Diario Sport. If Dembele does not sign on the club is willing to sell him in the summer to avoid seeing the forward walk away for free at the end of next season.
The report states that Dembele “will have to decide in the coming weeks” if he will continue, and Barca “will press” for a decision on whether he will extend his stay at the Camp Nou. Premier League giants Manchester United and Chelsea as well as Serie A champions Juventus are all said to be interested in the talented forward.
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Koeman Wants Dembele to Stay
Dembele has endured a difficult time at Barcelona since joining from 2017 but is in the midst of his best campaign with the Catalan giants. He has managed to shrug off the injury problems that have plagued his Barca career in 2020-21 and become a regular in the first team.
The forward was also handed a recall to the France squad for March’s World Cup qualifiers, scoring in the win over Kazakhstan. Dembele then returned to Barca and scored a crucial last-gap winner against Real Valladolid on Monday.
Coach Ronald Koeman made it clear after the match that he is hopeful the 23-year-old will choose to stay at Barcelona, as reported by Marca.
“I would like Dembele to stay, he is an important player for us,” he said. “Today, he has shown that with his game and the goal. The key is that he has physically improved and has been able to play a lot of games in a row.”
Dembele ‘Happier Than Ever’ at Barca
It’s not clear if Dembele will renew his contract but there’s no doubt he’s enjoying his best spell at Barcelona since his big-money move from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2017.
According to Catalunya Radio, Dembele is “happier than ever” and “has found a great ally” in Koeman. The Dutchman has been happy to place his trust in Dembele this season and has been rewarded by some impressive performances.
The report also notes the contribution of Dembele’s physical trainer Albert Roca who has helped with his fitness and been “decisive for improving his performance.” Chef Anthony Audebaud is also credited for helping Dembele with his diet.
It’s no surprise to hear top clubs once again interested in Dembele after seeing the young French star recapture his form and fitness for Barcelona. The Catalans won’t want him to leave if he can maintain the level he’s shown this season but may have a tough decison to make if he does not renew his contract this summer.