Liverpool and Arsenal’s hopes of bringing Ousmane Dembele to the Premier League in January look to have been finally dashed.
France attacker Dembele joined the Catalan giants 18 months ago, but has seen his time in Spain dogged by questions over his long-term stay at the club while fresh reports this week stated that he will be shipped out in January following question marks over his attitude.
It was also claimed that Barca could look to use the player as a makeweight in a possible deal to bring Neymar back to the club at the end of the season – and grant the former Rennes star a return to Ligue 1.
That comes amid ongoing reports that he could be targeted by both Arsenal and Liverpool in January, with a temporary move, leading to a permanent €100million summer switch.
However, ESPN report that the player has now asked to stay at the club and, having shown an improved attitude over the past week, impressed coach Ernesto Valverde by notching the equaliser in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid.
And with the club having lost his teammate Rafinha in the game to what looks like a season-ending knee ligament injury, Valverde has dented Arsenal and Liverpool’s hopes by vowing to keep the player.
“Ousmane Dembele? He has been playing regularly for us this season and he has the quality both to start and to make a big impact from the substitute’s bench,” Valverde said when questioned over his future.
“He has the capability of doing a lot of damage and has the potential to change the game when he comes on, we all give great value to that.”
Asked why Dembele was being used off the bench in recent weeks and doesn’t consider the player as a player he can depend on, the Barca coach continued: “It is not necessarily true that being on the bench does not mean you are not important, you need to understand the dynamic of football and individual games.”
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