Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman offered a fresh update on Ousmane Dembele’s future in his pre-match press conference on Saturday.
The Frenchman is being linked with a move away from the Camp Nou before the transfer window closes on Monday.
Koeman spoke at length about Dembele’s situation at the club, explaining there is fierce competition for places in attack currently. He also advised the 23-year-old to talk to him if he is unhappy at the Camp Nou.
“First we have to say there’s a lot of quality players up front and in his position, he can play on the left or the right. Ansu’s there, Konrad’s there, Trincao, Griezmann, there’s a lot of players. It’s a tightly contested position in the team. This is where Ansu has played from the start and he’s in front of Dembele. The only thing I can try and say is that if the player is unhappy then he speaks with me.
“I want people here who are happy. They can be annoyed because they don’t play, that’s fine, that’s something that’s between us. If he does not want to be here he should tell me and he’s said nothing to me. If there’s nothing today I will count on Ousmane and I will have him as an option to play.”
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Dembele was a second-half substitute in Barcelona’s first game of the season against Villarreal but did not make it off the bench against Celta Vigo last time out. Koeman explained again why he opted not to use the Frenchman at Balaidos.
“I always try to get the best out of team and if there’s changes there’s a reason behind that. If Pedri, for example, came on it’s because he deserves it, because of the work he’s show in training.
“Trincao and Pedri deserved to be on the pitch. Dembele is another player who has greater depth but we needed great defensive help the other day. Dembele is a Barca player, [his future] depends on the thoughts of the player. I’ve not spoken with him directly. We’ll see, as I said before.”
It’s not quite clear yet if Dembele will stay at Barcelona. According to Fabrizio Romano at the Guardian, Manchester United have been in touch to discuss either a loan or a loan with an option to buy.
Barcelona’s financial situation means they would rather sell Dembele if an attractive offer arrives, while it’s not known whether the Frenchman is willing to leave after three injury-ravaged years at Barcelona.