Ousmane Dembele has issued a powerful response after Barcelona confirmed they are expecting to sell him before the end of the month.
Dembele’s future has been a hot topic for Barcelona for a number of months. He is out of contract at the end of the season. Signed for a nine-figure sum in 2017, losing him for free would be a big blow.
But Barcelona have been unwilling to meet his extortionate wage demands. And the situation reached boiling point on Thursday when their director Mateu Alemany confirmed the forward is up for sale.
“It seems obvious to us that the player does not want to continue at Barcelona,” Alemany said. “He is not committed to Barca’s future project.
“We told him and his agents that he must leave the club immediately. Barcelona only want to have players committed to the project.
“We expect a transfer to take place before January 31.”
It has led to heightened speculation over where Dembele may end up. Chelsea have been named as the early frontrunners; they could reunite him with his former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel.
There have also been links with the likes of Man Utd and Newcastle if he is to move to the Premier League.
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It will be a busy couple of weeks to determine Dembele’s future. Immediately, he has been left out of Barcelona’s squad for their Copa Del Rey clash with Athletic Bilbao on Thursday.
While his teammates were preparing for that fixture, though, the 24-year-old was speaking up on his future.
In doing so, Dembele defended himself and his representatives and contradicted his club’s claims that he is no longer at their disposal. Rather, he insisted he is there for coach Xavi and complained of blackmail.
Ousmane Dembele issues Barcelona response
Dembele wrote on Instagram: “Hello, everyone. It’s been four years since I’ve stopped reading things about myself without ever trying to justify myself.
“Gossip about me has been piling up for four years. It’s been four years that people have spoken for me, shamefully lied with one sole purpose, the intention of harming me. I have been following my line of never answering for four years, of never justifying myself.
“Has it been a mistake? Surely. As of today, it’s over. Starting today, I will answer honestly, without giving in to any kind of blackmail.
“I am 24 years old and like every man, I have flaws, imperfections. I have lived through complex moments, injuries, Covid has affected me. Without the slightest training session, the mister has asked me and I have always complied… without question.
“Perform as well as I have always done because it is my PASSION. I am fully aware of my luck to dedicate myself to the most beautiful job in the world. Also, my message is transparent.”
Dembele insists he’s involved
The 2018 World Cup winner continued: “I forbid anyone to give the impression that I am not involved in the sports project. I forbid anyone to attribute intentions to me that I have never had. I forbid anyone to speak for me or my representative, whom I trust completely.
“Still under contract, I am fully involved and at the disposal of my club, my coach. I have always given everything for my colleagues and also for all the partners… it is not now that that is going to change. I am not a man who cheats and even less a man who has a habit of giving in to blackmail.
“Surely love is a variant of blackmail. As you know, there are negotiations. I let my agent handle it, it’s his turf. My field is the ball, simply playing soccer, sharing moments of joy with my colleagues and all members.
“Above all, let’s focus on the essentials: WIN.
“Take care of your own. Ousmane Dembele”
Dembele has scored 31 goals from 129 appearances in a Barcelona shirt. But there are now serious doubts as to whether he will add to them.