Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has opened up on the contract situation of star winger Ousmane Dembele and the speculation around his future.
Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele has become a hot topic of transfer speculation in recent weeks. The Frenchman has entered the final year of his contract with the Catalan giants, and talks over a renewal have not been progressing as planned.
With the 24-year-old set to become a free agent at the end of the season, interest in his services is mounting with each passing day, as several clubs across Europe are keen on snapping him up. Recent reports indicated that Newcastle United and Juventus had even opened talks with Dembele’s agent over a potential summer move.
Barcelona, for their part, are trying to tie the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner down to a new contract. Manager Ronald Koeman was quizzed about the Frenchman’s situation ahead of the Catalans’ La Liga clash against Rayo Vallecano.
In response, as quoted by journalist Fabrizio Romano, the Dutchman said, “We want Ousmane Dembele to stay with us, he is an important player, our goal is for him to renew. If he does not, we will have to react in the best possible way. We have not decided our strategy in case he does not renew.”
🎙Ronald Koeman 🇳🇱 on Ousmane Dembele 🇫🇷: "The most important thing is that we want him to stay. If he does not want to, we have not yet discussed the best way to approach the issue." #FCBlive pic.twitter.com/JlntVr8P3n
— RouteOneFootball (@Route1futbol) October 26, 2021
Dembele has been with Barcelona for four years now, having arrived from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2017. However, injuries have curtailed his progression at Camp Nou. The Frenchman has missed as many as 97 matches during his stint with the Blaugrana due to various fitness problems.
In fact, Dembele has not featured for Barcelona in the ongoing campaign after he picked up a hamstring injury at UEFA Euro 2020. But he remains a player with talent and flair.
Naturally, there is a lot of interest in his situation, especially considering that he will be available on a free transfer at the end of the season. But, with Koeman insisting that Barcelona are intent on keeping hold of the 24-year-old, it remains to be seen if the Catalans can convince him to sign a new deal when he reportedly has a bumper contract offer from Newcastle on the table.