Joan Laporta has discussed Ousmane Dembele’s situation at Barcelona, with the winger set to leave the club on a free transfer this summer.
Dembele has turned down the chance to renew his contract with the Spanish side and will be a free agent when his current deal expires at the end of the season.
The France international has rejected the proposal of a new contract on reduced terms at Barcelona and is expected to leave this summer, having seen a January exit fail to materialise.
Barcelona had been keen for the 24-year-old to move on last month in a bid to reduce their wage bill, but he remained with the Catalans beyond the deadline despite reported interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea.
The club’s president, Laporta, has now discussed Dembele’s situation and was asked if the winger had played his last game in the club’s colours.
“This is decided by the coach,” Laporta said at the official presentation of Adama Traore, as per AS. “Barca has the option to buy Adama and will try to execute it. I also want to once again thank him for his effort to return to Barça.
“About Dembele, the coach will decide, who is training for this season, but he also thinks for the next one. And Dembele has not renewed and will not continue next year. The coach is here to build a team, he is not only thinking about this one. Dembélé has not accepted the renewal and his agent is not willing to help the club.”
Laporta confirmed the club’s proposal for a renewal expired in December and says another offer has not been submitted to Dembele, revealing that the Frenchman’s demands were in excess of what Barcelona could offer.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta reveals: “We think Ousmane Dembélé has an agreement in place with another club”. 🚨🇫🇷 #FCB
“He didn’t want to leave the club in January. It’s really difficult to understand his position, makes no sense for him and for the club”. pic.twitter.com/8FUenLc4w2
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 1, 2022
“The renewal proposal expired on December 20. Since then there was no proposal. We saw an intention of not wanting to renew and not accept the proposal, which was very good. Their aspirations were unaffordable for us. We tried to find solutions, but there was no way.”
Laporta spoke further on Dembele’s career with the club, with the winger having struggled to make an impact during an injury-ravaged five seasons in Catalonia.
Barcelona spent an initial €105m to prise Dembele from Borussia Dortmund and the president admits it has been a disappointing return on their investment.
“Dembele has been accompanied by a series of situations that have not been the best,” he said. “It has been difficult for him to adapt because he has had a lot of injuries. Barca invested a lot of money and it is an investment that we wanted to see on the field, but we have been a little disappointed.
“We have understood his injuries, his disappointments because he feels that he has not been properly treated, he had complaints from the media… tried to understand all his feelings. At the club we wanted to put an end to the past and for him to give his best performance from now on.
“We are disappointed. We have treated him in an extraordinary way. We have not been able to enjoy his quality on a regular basis. We have not enjoyed him as we expected from him and we hoped that with the renewal we would enjoy the best Dembele.”
Europe’s leading clubs are set to register an interest in signing the winger as a free agent, with Sport reporting that Barcelona believe that Dembele has already struck an agreement with either Manchester United or Juventus.
The report says that the Catalan club found it curious that the Red Devils didn’t make a move for the winger, despite saying they had made loan and transfer bids over the last two summers.
PSG and Chelsea also continue to be linked, with Dembele having previously worked under Thomas Tuchel during his time at Dortmund.
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