Last week, FC Barcelona suffered a setback in their attempt to get Ousmane Dembele to put pen to paper on a new contract. Despite their earlier confidence on the deal, the offer they put on the table during a meeting last Wednesday was rejected. However, manager Xavi Hernandez remains confident that the negotiations are progressing.
The talks are not said to have broken down, despite alleged tensions between the club and Dembele’s agent last week. Now that the winter transfer window is officially open, the Frenchman will have a clearer picture of what kind of offers are available from other interested clubs.
They turned down Barcelona’s most recent offer due to a disagreement on the financial side of the deal, and Dembele’s camp is now waiting to see if a more lucrative offer is available. Despite the club’s financial troubles, Xavi says that the deal they have offered is a good one. “The offer is very good. I don’t have a say on the economic side, but Barcelona’s offer is an excellent one,” he said during a press conference on Saturday ahead of their La Liga match against Real Mallorca.
“We are in negotiations, I still have hope that he’ll stay,” said Xavi, making it clear that the door is not closed. He also hinted that the player himself is working on finding a solution. “I’ve spoken with him and I think it’s possible that he’ll try to stay. Talks are in process, so for now we have to wait.”
Xavi has been very vocal about his desire to keep the Frenchman, who was one of the players that he openly praised upon his return to the Camp Nou. Xavi wants to get the deal over the line so he can have a clearer picture of his squad for the coming season. With several youngsters already locked down to long-term deals, the manager can shift his focus on other areas that he needs to strengthen in the squad. The last thing he wants is to lose another forward, after already losing Sergio Aguero and dealing with Ansu Fati’s long-term injury.
The new deal also involves a pay cut, which would help the club free up space in their salary cap. “If he renews, we could sign one or two players now,” Xavi added.