Mateu Alemany, the Blaugrana’s director of football, made it plain the club’s attitude on the French winger following his omission from the squad to face Athletic Club.
Ousmane Dembele was instructed to leave Barcelona immediately after being left out of the team for the Blaugrana’s match against Athletic Club – but the Blaugrana star has reacted angrily, characterizing attempts to compel his departure as “blackmail.”
Xavi warned the France international on Wednesday that he would be forced to leave Camp Nou unless he signed a new deal.
The winger is unwilling to sign new terms, Mateu Alemany, the club’s director of football, stated on Thursday, opening the way for his exit – however the 24-year-old has since rebutted the club’s accusations.
Alemany stated at a news conference prior of the Copa del Rey match against Athletic Club: “Conversations with Ousmane and his agents began in July.
“Throughout this nearly seven-month period, we have communicated, Barca has made many proposals, and we have attempted to find a solution for the player to remain with us, but those offers have been consistently rejected by his agents.
“It appears to us that the player does not wish to stay at Barcelona and is unconcerned about the club’s future plans.
“We informed him and his agents that he must immediately leave the club, since we need players dedicated to the initiative.
“We anticipate a transfer to occur prior to January 31. The sports implication is that we do not want players who are dissatisfied with their situation at Barca.
“The fact that he was not on today’s [squad] roster is a result of this entire process. We fully back the coach; this is a continuous approach.”
The Barcelona squad list for the match against their Liga opponents was later disclosed on social media, with Dembele omitted from the 22-man roster.
The winger’s long message, which he shared in both French and Spanish on his social media feeds, contended that his future is in the hands of his agency and that he only wants to play, hinting that his connection with Barcelona is “a form of blackmail.”
“I prevent anybody from speaking in my stead, in the stead of my agent, in whom I have total trust,” Dembele said on Instagram. “I am still employed. I am completely available to my club and coach.
“I am not a man who cheats, much less a one who is prone to succumb to blackmail. Without a doubt, love is a form of blackmail. Negotiations take place. I’ll leave it to my agent; that’s his turf.
“My field is football; I like just playing the game and experiencing joyous moments with my teammates and supporters. Let’s keep our focus on what matters most – winning.”
What is Dembele’s next move?
Dembele has spent the previous four and a half seasons at Camp Nou, having moved from Borussia Dortmund for €145 million (£121 million/$164 million) in 2017. However, his contract expires in six months.
Barca have been attempting to lock down the 24-year-old for several months without success, with Xavi informing the winger that he was running out of time to make a choice.
“The message is unmistakable. Ousmane Dembele’s contract must be renewed or he will be sold in January. There is no other option,” Xavi stated during a January 19 press conference.
“It is not planned for him to remain in the stands. I’ve been extremely straightforward with Ousmane.”
It now appears that Dembele, who has been linked with Newcastle, will not renew with Barca, and the club will actively look to move him on this month to try and recoup a transfer fee.
Dembele has appeared in 11 games across all competitions in 2021-22 so far and has only managed to record one goal and two assists, in keeping with his lack of consistency during his time at Barca where he has often struggled for form and fitness.