Barcelona wants to move France winger Ousmane Dembélé before the winter transfer window closes, according to a top club official.
After refusing to agree to a new contract, Barcelona soccer director Mateu Alemany said the club told Dembélé he needed to find a new club. In June, his contract will expire.
“Over the course of the six, seven months that we’ve been talking and negotiating, Barça has made several offers for Ousmane to stay with us, all of which have been rejected by his agents,” Alemany said. “Given the circumstances, we’ve told the player and his agents that he must leave immediately, as we only want players who are committed to the team’s future, and that he must leave by January 31.”
Dembélé has been left out of Xavi Hernández’s squad for Thursday’s Copa del Rey match against Athletic Bilbao. Alemany claimed that his refusal to sign a new contract was the driving force behind his decision.
In 2017, Barcelona broke its own club transfer record by signing Dembélé from Borussia Dortmund for 147 million euros (then $175 million) plus add-ons. Many Barcelona fans questioned the pricey deal, which consumed a large portion of the 220 million euros (then $262 million) Barcelona received from PSG for Neymar just weeks before.
The young forward missed much of his first two seasons due to injury, and it was only last season that he established himself as a regular starter. In 129 appearances for Barcelona, he has 31 goals.