Ousmane Dembele was left out of the 22-man squad coach Xavi put together to face Athletic Club on Thursday, January 20, 2022. Ahead of the Copa Del Rey round of 16 game that ended 3-2 in favor of Athletic Club, Barca’s director of football, Mateu Alemany told reporters that the club want Dembele to leave the club this January.
While explaining why the club made the decision, the director said Barca have tried to renew the contract of the 24-year-old French winger for months but the player and his agent have been delaying the process.
Now, Ousmane Dembele‘s contract has less than 6 months to expire and the only transfer window ahead of the expiration of the contract on June 30, 2022, is the January transfer window. In an attempt to prevent their second most expensive signing to leave the club for free next summer, Barca are trying everything possible to sell him to any interested club this January.
Recall that in 2020, Manchester United attempted to sign Ousmane Dembele on loan but the deal did not scale through. The report then was that the embattled France international wanted to become a success at Barca that bought him for a whopping €140 million from Borussia Dortmund on August 25, 2017.
Since then, Dembele has managed to score 31 goals and provided 23 assists in 129 games. Injury woes and inconsistency have made him not to actualize his full potential before his relationship with Barca turned sour.
Barca’s director of football, Mateu Alemany said: “With Ousmane and his agents we started conversations around July.
“In all this time, almost seven months, we have talked, Barca has made different offers, we have tried to find a way for the player to continue with us and those offers have been continuously rejected by his agents.
“It seems obvious to us that the player does not want to continue at Barcelona and is not committed to Barca’s future project.
“We told him and his agents that he must leave the club immediately because we want to have players committed to the project.
“We expect a transfer to take place before January 31. The sporting consequence is that we don’t want to have players who don’t want to be at Barca.
“The fact that he was not on the [squad] list for today is the consequence of this whole process. The coach has our full support, it’s a consistent attitude.”
Ousmane Dembele and his brutal response to FC Barcelona
Since the 2021-2022 season, Ousmane Dembele has managed to play 11 times in which he scored a goal and provided two assists. He has used most parts of the season to battle one fitness issue or the other.
Before Barcelona publicly asked him to leave the club this January, he has been a victim of criticism from most fans of the club which means that he has been under verbal attack by both the management of the club and some of the club’s fans.
To set the records straight, Ousmane Dembele took to his Instagram page on Thursday, January 20, 2022, to describe the relationship between him and FC Barcelona as a “kind of blackmail”.
The 24-year-old French winger did not stop there, he stressed that no one should speak on his behalf, not even Barca, except his agent. He however added that he is available to play for Barcelona since he is still under a contract with the club.
“I forbid anyone to speak in my place, in place of my agent, who I have complete confidence in,” Dembele wrote on Instagram. “I am still under contract. I am fully at the disposal of my club and my coach.
“I am not a man who cheats and even less a man who has a habit of giving in to blackmail. Surely, love is a kind of blackmail. There are negotiations. I let my agent handle it, it is his turf.
“My field is football, simply playing football, sharing moments of joy with my teammates, our supporters. Let’s focus on the essentials – winning.”
As it stands, Dembele has less than 10 days to get a club that will buy him away from Barcelona since the Spanish side have made it clear that they don’t longer want him. Barcelona are not also left out in the struggle to get a new club for the Frenchman before January 31, the closing date for the January transfer window.
If Dembele is not able to get a club before then, he would have to leave Barca as a free agent in the coming summer transfer window. So far, relegation-threatened Newcastle United are said to be very interested in the Frenchman who is currently worth just €30 million in the transfer market.