Barcelona are growing angry at the agent of Ousmane Dembele and are now faced with a dilemma over what to do with the winger, who is reportedly a target for Manchester United.
Dembele was a nine-figure signing for Barcelona in 2017, effectively taking Neymar’s place in the squad. The former Borussia Dortmund star has struggled to progress much since then, though. Injuries have derailed him, although he has found more gametime over the past year or so.
As such, Barcelona want to keep him beyond the expiry of his contract in 2022. Dembele is one of their main priorities when it comes to renewals.
However, Diario Sport have revealed that his agent is yet to respond to the contract offer they have put on the table. As such, Barcelona are becoming angry at the representative.
They are aware of interest from other clubs, some of whom may have even held talks with the agent already. Manchester United and Juventus are believed to be at the forefront of the race for his signature.
Still only 24 years old, Dembele has plenty to offer if he can prove his fitness. A hamstring injury has delayed his start to this season, but he got through last season relatively unscathed, making 44 appearances in all competitions.
Man Utd would therefore be willing to revive their interest in the right winger, while Juventus are eager to take him to Italy.
Barcelona think they have “little hope” of securing Dembele to a new deal, even though the player himself seems willing to stay.
They are therefore ready to issue an ultimatum to his agent. If the response is negative, they would try to sell Dembele in January. Were that not to materialise, they may send him to the stands for the remainder of the campaign.
It is a strong stance for a player they want to keep and who seemingly has no ill feelings of his own towards them. In an ideal world, they would like him to change his agent, but that is something out of their control.
As long as his current representative remains in charge of his affairs, Barcelona will be pessimistic about their chances of keeping him. On the other hand, there is hope for United and Juventus.
Either would be able to double his current salary, whereas Barca want him to reduce it to stay with them. His motives are not financial, though, so it will depend on the sporting projects.
Liverpool line up Dembele offer
TEAMtalk exclusively revealed earlier this month that Dembele could also be an option for Liverpool in January.
Liverpool are looking to evolve their attack with players who can compete with and then succeed Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
Diogo Jota has been pushing hard for his chances – and taking them when they come. But Liverpool could still look for an additional option.
We understand that they are viewing Dembele as a potential solution. What’s more, his low price would fit in with Liverpool’s small budget.
The Reds admired Dembele even before his move to Barcelona, so are unlikely to miss their opportunity if they still think a deal is worthwhile.
It is also understood that Chelsea and Manchester City have been in touch with his representatives. In addition, we can verify the interest from Juventus and are also aware of Bayern Munich’s admiration of him.
Jurgen Klopp is hopeful of winning the race to sign Dembele and Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards has told the club it is an opportunity not to miss out on.
But the race is becoming more crowded. The only thing that seems certain for now is that Barcelona’s hopes of keeping him are fading.