Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele has declared he is ‘fine’ at his current club and is adamant he will not be leaving this summer, despite reports indicating he will walk away as a free agent after failing to put pen to paper on a new contract.
Dembele has failed to live up to expectations at the Nou Camp since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in a staggering £120million deal in 2017, but the Blaugrana are believed to be keen to keep him – and have even tabled him an extension.
Chelsea have also been strongly linked him the 25-year-old, and their hopes of a switch look to have taken a blow after the player himself commented on his future.
A supporter is said to have spotted Dembele on holiday at a traffic light, and decided to take the opportunity to question him about the rampant speculation.
‘Are you staying at Barca?’ the fan asked, to which the winger replied ‘yes’.
He was then grilled on the interest from Stamford Bridge, with the fan asking ‘You do not want to work with [Thomas] Tuchel?’ Dembele then said ‘I’m fine in Barcelona’.
Tuchel has already coached Dembele, having been his manager at Dortmund.
Regardless of the Frenchman’s comments, he has just two weeks until his deal runs down in Spain, meaning he would be able to sign for another club for free.
Barcelona have made several approaches to his agent, Moussa Sissoko, but it is believed the hefty demands from Dembele are considered unaffordable.
So far, the proposals made have been made up of a fixed salary and different variables linked to his performances. However, the latter has not yet been responded to by Dembele’s entourage, and Barcelona now believe negotiations have collapsed.
On the silence from the player’s camp, Barca president Joan Laporta said: ‘We made our bid – he has a proposal on the table but he has not accepted it. No answer yet.’
Some reports have even claimed the wideman is in ‘advanced talks’ with Chelsea.
Dembele has scored 32 goals and recorded 34 assists in 150 games for Barca, winning the LaLiga twice and lifting as many Copa del Rey trophies.
Boss Xavi was keen to keep him at the club for a little while longer, saying last month: ‘Negotiations are ongoing and we are going to be optimistic.
‘I hope he can stay – he has helped us a lot during the last six months.
‘He’s a decisive player with lots of assists and he has been excellent in many games.
‘When he hasn’t played, we’ve missed him. He is a football player that I like and we’d like to stay, but we’ll have to see.’