Barcelona head coach Xavi has called on Ousmane Dembele and his representatives to make a long-awaited decision over the Manchester United target’s future.
The winger has six months left on his current Barca deal and his next move has been the subject of speculation for a while. In fact, he had links with a move to Newcastle immediately after their takeover in October.
But the situation has dragged on without a resolution. Barcelona have set Dembele and his camp several deadlines by which they wanted a decision, but no concrete updates have arrived.
That is, until now. Indeed, Barcelona told Dembele on Monday that he has two days to make a final decision. If there is no response, Barca will assume he wants out and begin the process of offloading him.
On Wednesday, Xavi told ESPN at a press conference: “The situation with Ousmane is difficult.
“The club have decided that if he doesn’t renew, we will have to look for a solution.
“[Director of football] Mateu Alemany has been in talks with the player and his agent for five months. It’s been too long now. Either he renews or we look for a solution.”
Sport adds in a separate report that Barcelona have come up with three solutions for if Dembele decides not to renew.
Firstly, they could choose to keep Dembele in the squad until his contract expires – much like Manchester United will do with his fellow Frenchman Paul Pogba.
Moving the 24-year-old on in the January transfer market is another option. Newcastle still reportedly have interest, while Barca have supposedly tried to reignite a United swap deal with Martial.
However, the third option is the one which ‘most convinces’ Barcelona’s hierarchy if Dembele does not renew.
They could ‘punish’ him and send him to the stands for the rest of the season.
Dembele’s chief agent, Moussa Sissoko, has also spoken out on his client’s situation.
Ousmane Dembele agent speaks out
“It’s a stroke of pressure that doesn’t work with people like us,” Sissoko told RMC Sport.
“Maybe it can work with agents who are close with Barcelona. It’s not my case, I am here to defend the interests of my player.
“The truth must be told. Yes, we have demanding demands, but we have already shown that Ousmane’s career choices are not dictated by money, otherwise he wouldn’t be here.
“Then if Barcelona wanted to negotiate, he could have tried to come to the table with us to discuss. Except that there is no discussion and threats no longer work on their side.
“It’s forbidden. We will assert Ousmane Dembele’s rights if necessary.”
Dembele has largely struggled with injury at Barcelona since his big-money move from Borussia Dortmund in 2017.
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