The transfer saga of Ousmane Dembele has been finalized by Barcelona
Barcelona has announced that Ousmane Dembele will depart when his contract expires, giving Chelsea hope.
Dembele, 25, is yet to sign an extension with Barcelona despite his current contract expiring at the end of the month.
The France winger has struggled to live up to expectations since joining Barcelona for £120 million from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, with a succession of fitness and discipline issues derailing his spell at the Nou Camp.
Dembele is set to depart Barcelona when his contract ends in July, despite reclaiming his starting role under Xavi in recent months.
Chelsea fans will be relieved to learn that he will go on a free transfer this summer, as the Spanish club revealed.
‘Dembele?’ said Joan Laporta, Barca’s president (via The Sun). He has a proposal on the table, but he has yet to accept it. ‘I have yet to receive a response.’
One of Thomas Tuchel’s main summer transfer targets is Dembele, with whom he previously worked at Dortmund.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho needs offensive reinforcements, as the futures of several existing players, including Romelu Lukaku, Christian Pulisic, and Timo Werner, are in doubt.
He is also rumoured to be interested in Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling, while his colleague Gabriel Jesus has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.
The latter two, on the other hand, are still under contract at the Etihad, meaning that Chelsea would have to spend a significant sum to pry them from Pep Guardiola’s side.
Meanwhile, as he prepares to depart Barcelona, Dembele will be available for free beginning in July.
He has 32 goals and 34 assists in 150 appearances with Barcelona, winning two Spanish crowns and two Copa del Reys.
Last month, Xavi confirmed his wish to extend his stay at the Nou Camp, saying, ‘Negotiations are ongoing, and we will be optimistic.’ I’m hoping he’ll be able to stay because he’s been quite helpful over the previous six months.
‘He’s a decisive player with a lot of assists and a lot of game-winning goals.’ When he hasn’t played, we’ve missed him. We’d prefer to keep him as a football player, but we’ll see.’