The winger’s contract will end in the summer
Despite the Frenchman’s angry retort on social media on Thursday, Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez indicated on Saturday that the club will not change its stance on Ousmane Dembele’s contract predicament. After a breakdown in talks over a new contract, Xavi Hernandez left Dembele out of his side to face Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey on Thursday night, Dembele said that he would not “give in to blackmail.” The winger’s contract will end in the summer, and he will be free to leave the club.
“It appears evident to us that the player does not want to continue at Barcelona,” Mateu Alemany, the club’s director of football, stated on Thursday morning, “therefore we hope that a transfer will take place before January 31.”
“Dembele’s situation hasn’t changed. He knows what the options are and he has to decide,” Xavi said in a press conference ahead of Sunday’s game away at Alaves.
“There is no alternative. There are still days left (in the transfer window),” Xavi added.
Help clear the way for new signings
It remains to be seen whether Barcelona can find a way to offload Dembele in the middle of the season, whether for a transfer fee or on loan. Paying the 24-year-old less might help clear the way for new signings.
“We’re trying to bring guys in,” Xavi stated. “We’ll see what we can do.”
Barcelona could have done without Ansu Fati suffering a hamstring injury against Athletic on Thursday. With sources claiming the 19-year-old will be out for two months.
Fati should only play 30 to 35 minutes against Athletic
Fati has only recently returned from a two-month injury layoff. And having last played in September after a ten-month layoff due to a knee injury.
“He is very upset, it’s a difficult situation,” said Xavi.
Club doctors advised that Fati should only play 30 to 35 minutes against Athletic. But the striker came on in the 61st minute and stayed on for extra-time.
“The extra-time upset our plans,” said Xavi. “We will try to make a very specific plan so that he does not get injured again.”