Under Xavi, the Frenchman has recaptured his greatest form, but the Blaugrana are running out of time to sign him to a new contract. GOAL can reveal that Barcelona held a “very promising” meeting with Ousmane Dembele’s representatives regarding a possible contract extension, although talks over the financial’red lines’ at Camp Nou are expected to continue.
Since a projected January exit fell through, Dembele has thrived under Xavi, playing a major role in Barcelona’s rise to third place in La Liga and progression to the Europa League quarter-finals. The Spanish giants were prepared to let the 24-year-old go in the winter window, but are now anxious to re-sign him before his current deal expires on June 30.
Mateu Alemany, Barca’s sporting director, travelled to Morocco at the start of the week to meet with Dembele’s agent, Moussa Sissoko, to reopen contract renewal talks. There was no precise proposal on the table, and the two men did not discuss money, but a clean slate was agreed upon, paving the stage for a possible continuation of the player-club connection. Before Barca’s 1-0 win over Sevilla over the weekend, Alemany underlined the club’s intention to keep Dembele, telling reporters: “For us, he can stay as long as [any agreement] remains within the club’s sustainable salary ceiling and is appropriate to his colleagues.”
In the following days, Barca will continue talks with Dembele’s representation, with the main goal now being to strike a financial agreement. Due to the fact that Catalunya is still paying off their record-breaking debts from 2021, they cannot afford to pay the World Cup champion an extravagant annual wage. Last summer, the club was obliged to release a number of first-team players, including all-time leading scorer Lionel Messi, in order to decrease its overall salary bill, and they will not breach La Liga regulations again under any circumstances. Dembele currently earns roughly €14 million per year at Barca, according to Spanish publication SPORT, although he would have to take a big pay cut to stay.