Ousmane Dembélé told to leave Barcelona by end of transfer window

·3 min read
<span>Photograph: Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images

Ousmane Dembélé has been told to leave Barcelona immediately. The Frenchman has been left out of the squad to face Athletic Club on Thursday night and the club’s director of football Mateu Alemany announced that they intend to move him on before the transfer window closes on 31 January, suggesting he will not play for them again. That came after the coach Xavi delivered a public ultimatum on Wednesday night: renew or go.

Dembélé has six months remaining on his contract and has failed to reach an agreement on a new deal. The club have concluded that the 24-year-old has no intention of continuing beyond the summer, despite Xavi saying Dembélé had said he wanted to stay. Now they want to force a departure. If he does not leave now, he faces the prospect of spending the next six months left in the stands and the club have even investigated the possibility of rescinding his contract. Barcelona need to shed his salary if they are to bring in players.

Related: Men’s transfer window January 2022 – all deals from Europe’s top five leagues

“Today, 20 January, with 11 days left in the last window before the end of his contract, it is obvious that the player does not want to continue and is not committed to our future,” Alemany said. “In that scenario, he and his agents have been informed that he should leave immediately because we want players who are committed to our project. Therefore, we hope to transfer him before 31 January.

“We started conversations with Ousmane and his agents back in July, more or less. In all this time, these six or seven months, we have spoken, we have had dialogue, we have made various offers. We looked at ways that he could stay with us. All those offers were turned down by his agents. The fact that he is not in the squad is no more than a consequence of this whole process.

“The conclusion in sporting terms, as evaluated by the coaching staff, is that we don’t want players who are not committed. It’s not the club that takes this decision – the coach does – but he has all our support and we think it is an entirely coherent decision.”

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Dembélé said in a strongly worded statement issued in response: “I forbid anyone to give the impression that I am not involved in the sports project. I forbid anyone to attribute intentions to me that I have never had. I forbid anyone to speak for me or my representative, whom I fully trust.

“Still under contract, I am fully involved and at the disposal of my club, my coach. I have always given everything for my colleagues and also for all the partners, it is not now that that is going to change. I am not a man who cheats and even less a man who has the habit of giving in to blackmail.

“As you know, there are negotiations. I let my agent handle it, it’s his turf. My field is the ball, playing football, sharing moments of joy with my teammates and the members. Above all, let’s focus on winning.”

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