Barcelona chief Joan Laporta has hinted that he does not want Ousmane Dembele to put on the club’s jersey again after he refused to extend his contract. But the Catalan’s club’s president has left the final decision with Xavi Hernandez going into the second-half of the campaign.
Dembele continues to train with the Barcelona first-team, but is expected to leave on a free transfer when his contract expires in June. The La Liga outfit were desperate to hold on to their £100 million signing from Borussia Dortmund, but after numerous contract offers were rejected, they ended talks with the forward’s representatives.
Laporta is almost certain that the France international has an agreement in place with another club to join on a free transfer in the summer. He was at a loss for words to explain why Dembele did not leave the club in January when he could have helped ease the club’s financial troubles by foregoing the wages that he is in line to collect over the next six months.
“Dembele’s a player that didn’t want to renew. And a player that we almost certainly won’t have because there must be another club with an agreement with him, so it’s difficult for him to play (for Barça), because the coach is rebuilding the team and knows who he can count on for this season and the next,” Laporta said, as quoted on Sport.
After the player’s refusal to sign a new deal, it will be depend on Xavi’s need to use him in the upcoming games. The Catalan club has signed Adama Traore and Ferran Torres, who can play in the Frenchman’s wide forward position, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has come in to fill the void in the number nine role.
“Dembele and his agent have not wanted to accept the renewal offer which we made to them. The club’s posture is that we have a player with a contract and if he’s available, the coach will decide. Xavi is just as surprised as us that he’s not accepted the renewal offer. And I understand that Xavi will have that in mind.”
Laporta confirmed that talks ended with Dembele in December when the club rescinded their offer. He admits that the club are in the dark with regards to the 2018 World Cup winner’s decision not to renew, especially since he had communicated to Xavi that he had the intention to remain at the Camp Nou beyond the summer of 2022.
“He already knows we thought he should renew. But he hasn’t. I hope there’s a solution in the best possible interests of Barça which damages the player as little as possible, too. But the circumstances are what they are. The reality is we didn’t understand his stance. We respect it but we don’t get it,” Laporta added.