Barcelona, Spain Jan 20 (EFE).- FC Barcelona are ushering French forward Ousmane Dembélé towards an early exit after months of talks between the club and his agent over a contract extension and salary reduction all but collapsed.
Barça coach Xavi Hernández has left the 24-year-old out of the squad traveling to the Basque Country for Thursday’s evening’s Copa del Rey tie against Athletic Bilbao.
The manager made his position clear during Wednesday’s pre-match press conference.
“Either Dembélé renews or we’ll find him a way to leave,” he said. “I’m not contemplating leaving him in the stands, I’ve been very clear with Ousmane. We have waited a long time, five months of conversations with him but the club’s interests come first.”
Dembélé, who came with a 140 million euro price tag when he signed from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, is out of contract with Barcelona at the end of the season but has been able to talk with other clubs since the transfer window opened this month.
Barça’s director of football Mateu Alemany on Thursday said Dembélé should leave the club “as soon as possible.”
“It is obvious, it seems clear to us, that the player does not want to continue at Barcelona and he is not committed to the future project of the team,” he added. “We expect there will be a transfer before January 31.”EFE