‘For Me, He’d Already Be Signed:’ Xavi Gives Barcelona Advice


Getty Xavi watches Barcelona in action.

Xavi Hernandez has urged Barcelona to keep Ousmane Dembele at the Camp Nou amid continued uncertainty about the forward’s future.

The coach was asked repeatedly about Dembele’s future at a pre-match press conference ahead of his team’s Europa League quarter-final first leg against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Xavi reiterated his desire for Dembele to stay at Barcelona past the end of the season when his contract expires but admits he knows it is a complicated situation due to the club’s financial problems.

“I don’t know what else to say about Ousmane. I hope he stays. For me, he’d already be signed but it’s to do with the club,” he said. “We’ve not got the best financial situation in history that’s the way it is. We have to tighten the belt a bit, make the numbers work, everyone is working 24 hours a day. For me Ousmane is a key player. We saw Atletico Madrid, how they defend in the inside, you need to have footballers who make the difference on the wing and Ousmane is that, he makes the difference.”

Barcelona have restarted contract extension talks with Dembele after talks failed in the January transfer window. Sporting director Mateu Alemany met Dembele’s agent Moussa Sissoko in Morocco on Monday, April 3.

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Xavi Praises Ronald Araujo

One player who does look set to sign a new long-term contract at Barcelona is center-back Ronald Araujo. The defender’s agent has admitted he is close to a new deal after talks with the club.

Xavi all but confirmed that Araujo is set to renew his contract with the Catalan giants and was full of praise for the 23-year-old center-back.

“He’s a player who can play for Barca for 10 years or more. There are very few center-backs that are so good. He’s good with the ball as well which is what we demand from him. He’s happy to stay here in Barcelona with his family.” he said. “He’s a very humble guy, very clear, he’s an example to the team and it’s a joy to have players like Araujo and I’m very, very happy. Especially as a person, he’s well-loved in the dressing room, works hard, makes sacrifices, but at the end of the day the decision is his. He can be proud to dedicate himself to Barca and that’s progress and for me, that’s the right decision.”

Araujo will sign a deal that runs until 2026 and contains a buyout clause set at an eye-watering 1 billion, as reported by transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.

Barca Can’t Relax Against Eintracht Frankfurt

Xavi also offered his thoughts on Barcelona’s next match against Eintracht Frankfurt and warned his side against complacency. The Catalans head into the match on a 14-game unbeaten run but Xavi says they can’t afford to lose focus.

“It would be a serious mistake to relax. Today everyone is working and the attitude should never be lost because then they run over you,” he said. “There will be no relaxation. If they beat us we will congratulate them and that’s it.”

Eintracht Frankfurt wil be the underdogs against Xavi’s team. The Bundesliga side are down in ninth place in the German top flight and have drawn their last three matches in all competitions.

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