Chelsea are still in talks with Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele as they try to persuade the winger to move to Stamford Bridge for a free summer transfer.
The Blues have long been interested in the 24-year-old Frenchman, whose contract expires at the end of the season. No expansion at Camp Nou is coming through conflicting negotiations due to the player’s salary requirements, and he is now expected to leave Barça for free.
The Catalan giants had hoped Dembele would sign a new deal on reduced terms, but when he rejected the offer they tried to sell him in January – but representatives of the player made it clear he would not be forcibly removed.
Despite the support of his supporters, Dembele still participated in the first team under Xavi and this week his new colleague Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang even said he was hopeful that a situation could arise that could keep the Frenchman strong.
However, sources confirmed in 90min that the new agreement remains unlikely unless Dembele’s terms are reduced from their previous, high level of consent.
While continuing to play for Barcelona, Dembele and his representatives applied – currently two of the best teams: Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.
Both Chelsea and PSG were keen to reach a reduced price transfer agreement by the end of January, and both are still in contact after the possible closure.
Sources familiar with the situation say the suggestions on the table are the same, so it will be up to the player to decide his future in the coming months.
Given some of the challenges Dembele has faced during his five years in Catalonia, including toughness, form, and disciplinary action, he wants to make sure the club does not join the next project that is most relevant to him.
Leaving the outskirts of Paris, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel worked with the player during their time together at Borussia Dortmund and provided clear clues to his bosses behind the scenes.
Speaking about the player in January at a press conference, the German midfielder said: “He is a great player, and I am very lucky to have coached him while I was in Dortmund. But I needed to leave and he decided to leave.”
Chelsea are likely to be open to a host of their top players, including Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic et Hakim Ziyech, and believe that adding a player like Dembele will give them something different and improve their options.