FC Barcelona confirms star player is set to leave the club
Despite his current contract expiring at the end of the month, Dembele, 25, is yet to sign an extension with Barca.
Since joining Barcelona for £120 million from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, the France winger has struggled to live up to expectations in Catalonia, with a series of fitness and discipline difficulties derailing his time at the Nou Camp.
Despite recovering his starting spot under Xavi in recent months, Dembele is expected to leave Barcelona when his contract expires in July.
Chelsea may be relieved to learn that he will be departing on a free transfer this summer after the Spanish club confirmed it.
‘Dembele?’ said Barca president Joan Laporta (via The Sun). We submitted our bid; he has a proposition on the table, but he has yet to accept it. ‘I’m still waiting for a response.’
Thomas Tuchel is said to have picked Dembele, with whom he previously worked at Dortmund, as one of his top summer transfer targets.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is in need of attacking reinforcements, with several current players’ futures in doubt, including Romelu Lukaku, Christian Pulisic, and Timo Werner.
Along with Dembele, he is said to be interested in Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling, and his teammate Gabriel Jesus is also linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.
However, the latter two are still under contract at the Etihad, implying that Chelsea would have to pay a hefty amount to wrest them away from Pep Guardiola’s side.
Dembele, meanwhile, will be available for free starting in July as he prepares to leave Barcelona.
In 150 appearances with Barca, he has 32 goals and 34 assists, earning two Spanish titles and as many Copa del Reys.
Xavi expressed his desire to keep him at the Nou Camp for a little longer last month, saying: ‘Negotiations are ongoing, and we are going to be positive.’ I hope he can stay because he has been quite helpful to us over the last six months.
‘He’s a decisive player who has a lot of assists and has been outstanding in a lot of games.’ We’ve missed him when he hasn’t played. I like him as a football player, and we’d like to keep him, but we’ll see.’