When questioned about a summer move to Chelsea, Ousmane Dembele was overheard informing a Barcelona supporter that he is remaining at the club and responding, “these are merely rumours.”
The French forward’s contract at the Camp Nou expires at the end of the month, but his future remains uncertain as the Catalan giants have failed to renew it,
leaving him free to speak to other teams – with the Blues reportedly heading the list of potential suitors.
Xavi stated in January that the Frenchman had deceived him, and the coach issued a last warning to the player last week in what seemed to be a transfer ultimatum.
The next day, Barca received a legal notice as sporting director Mateu Alemany threatened that the player had been told ‘he had to leave the club as soon as possible’.
When asked if he was remaining at the club beyond this season, a fan videotaped himself chatting to Dembele in his car on a Barcelona street, with the Frenchman saying “sure.”
When asked whether he would be joining Chelsea, he said, “these are merely rumors,” before adding,
“I’m okay at Barcelona,” when asked if Blues boss Thomas Tuchel, who coached him at Dortmund, was interested in him.
Dembele has been linked with a move to the Premier League, with Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea among the teams interested in acquiring his services.
Moussa Sissoko, the player’s agent, has been at the center of the player’s future, and he has been open in his criticism of Barca’s handling of his client’s future.
Sissoko was spotted arriving at Barcelona airport at the end of January, and television photos show the agent getting a phone call from PSG sports director Leonardo.
It looked to be another negotiation strategy from Sissoko, but the player’s future remains uncertain five months later as his Barca contract expires.
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Dembele has been able to engage with other teams since January 1 and strike an agreement on a pre-contract due to his contract expiring on June 30. In 2017,
Barcelona paid £105 million to buy Dembele from Borussia Dortmund in a deal worth up to £135 million, in a move that has become emblematic of the club’s risky transfer philosophy.
Since joining Barcelona in the summer of 2017, the French attacker has been plagued by injury difficulties, making only 69 starts in La Liga out of a potential 190, indicating his challenges to stay healthy and prevent injury.
The additions of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ferran Torres to Camp Nou in January put him even farther down the pecking order.
Chelsea’s pursuit of the former Dortmund striker is related to their pursuit of Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, with both transactions potentially dependant on the other.
Dembele’s signing as a free agent would help compensate for the summer departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, who both departed Stamford Bridge without a transfer fee.