Blaugrana director of football Mateu Alemany made the club’s position on the French winger clear after he was not included to face Athletic Club.
Ousmane Dembele has been told to leave Barcelona immediately after he was dropped from the squad for their meeting with Athletic Club – but the Blaugrana star has fired back, describing attempts to force his exit as “blackmail”.
The France international was informed by Xavi on Wednesday that he would have to depart Camp Nou unless he signed a new contract.
The winger is not willing to pen fresh terms, director of football Mateu Alemany claimed on Thursday, paving the way for his departure – though now, the 24-year-old has countered against the club’s claims.
Alemany said at a press conference ahead of the Copa del Rey meeting with Athletic Club: “With Ousmane and his agents we started conversations around the month of 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 in the [squad] list for today is the consequence of this whole process. The coach has our full support, it’s a consistent attitude.”
The Barca squad list for the meeting with their Liga rivals was then revealed on social media, with Dembele absent from the 22-man party.
? #AthleticBarça pic.twitter.com/Vm43pRhWRT
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona_es) January 20, 2022
In his own lengthy statement posted in French and Spanish on his social media feeds, the winger argued that his future lies in the hands of his agent and that he just wishes to play, insinuating his relationship with Barca is “a kind of blackmail”.
“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 team-mates, our supporters. Let’s focus on the essentials – winning.”
What next for Dembele?
Dembele has spent the last four-and-a-half seasons at Camp Nou, having initially joined the club from Borussia Dortmund for €145 million (£121m/$164m) in 2017, but now only has six months left to run on his contract.
Barca have been trying to tie the 24-year-old down for several months but there has been no sign of a final agreement being reached, with Xavi warning the winger that he was running out of time to make a decision.
“The message is clear. Ousmane Dembele has to sign a new contract or we find a way to sell him in January. No other way,” Xavi said in a press conference on January 19.
“It is not contemplated that he stays in the stands. I have been very clear 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.
It now appears that Dembele, who has been
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.