Barcelona president Joan Laporta has said the club will not break next season’s salary structure to keep Ousmane Dembele at the Camp Nou.
Dembele, 24, is out of contract on June 30 and can move on a free transfer. It’s a situation that Barca boss Xavi has been trying to avoid. But there is plenty of interest in the attacker, whom Xavi has integrated back into the Barcelona team.
A TEAMtalk exclusive last year revealed how Liverpool were strongly considering an approach to bring Dembele to Anfield in January. But while a January move for the France star never materialised, reports in Spain suggest a free move this summer looks to be on.
Mundo Deportivo journalist Xavier Bosch has said Dembele could be headed “towards Paris or Liverpool” if he were to not sign a new deal with the LaLiga side.
And any new deal now will have to be on Barcelona’s financial terms. With Laporta confirming Dembele allowed a renewal offer from the club to expire in December.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp knows all about the former Borussia Dortmund star, despite leaving the club before Dembele arrived.
Klopp could well be looking for replacements for Mo Salah, Divock Origi and Sadio Mane imminently.
Origi is out of contract this summer and expected to leave, while both Mane and Salah have until June 2023.
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Ousmane Dembele has been given his final offer at Barcelona but Chelsea move nears as winger unhappy
Dembele contract option expired
Laporta, speaking to Mundo Deportivo, has made it clear that Barca will not bow to financial pressure over a new contract for Dembele.
“Dembele is a wonderful, charming boy, [or] at least he hasn’t caused us problems since we took charge of the club,” Laporta said
“Perhaps we are seeing the best Dembele since [he joined] Barca, for sure. He is a player that the coaches have known how to manage better, starting with Xavi who is managing [things] wonderfully for the player.
“But we made him a renewal offer that expired on December 20 last year. He decided not to take advantage of that renewal. Now Xavi says that he was counting on him because he is a player who makes a difference.
“Now, [the] renewal of Dembele? Let’s see, the option he had has expired and we are already setting salary levels that all those who stay next season will have to accept. Some levels that have to [be established to] maintain the sustainability and balance of the club and the squad.”