Ousmane Dembele finally signs new deal with Barcelona

French attacker will remain with La Liga club until 2024

Ousmane Dembele with Barcelona president Joan Laporta after the French attacker signed a new contract. Reuters
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Ousmane Dembele has finally committed his future to Barcelona after signing a new two-year contract with the Spanish club.

The French attacker had seen his previous deal expire at the end of June after spending most of last season in a standoff with Barca management who were desperate to avoid a player they paid out €120 million for in 2017 leaving for nothing.

"Staying at Barca was always my first choice," Dembele said on the pitch at Barcelona's training ground on Thursday. "It's been a long time coming, but now everyone is happy.

"I'm very happy, Barcelona has been my dream club since I was a child. I can't wait for the season to start so I can give it my all.

"The first three years were not easy with injuries, but now I feel good with the team and the city and I have the confidence of everyone."

Dembele was dropped from the team by manager Xavi Hernandez and told he must leave the debt-ridden club by the end of January.

“With Ousmane and his agent we began conversations around July so it's been six months and a bit,” said director of football Mateu Alemany at the time. “We've talked, we've talked, we've talked. Barca has made different offers.

“We've tried to find a way for the player to continue with us but these offers have been systematically rejected by his agents and ... it seems obvious to us that the player does not want to continue at Barcelona and he is not committed to Barca's future project."

He returned to the fold in February – and was jeered by Barca fans initially – but finished the campaign with 32 appearances in all competitions. The 25-year-old scored one goal and registered 13 assists as Barca finished second in La Liga behind Real Madrid.

French champions Paris Saint-Germain had been strongly linked with a move to bring the former Rennes player back to France, while several Premier League clubs, including Chelsea, are also reported to have shown an interest.

According to reports, Dembele agreed to lower his salary expectations to fit in with a club that continues to deal with deep-rooted economic difficulties.

Barca, meanwhile, were able to move closer to his wage demands thanks to the €207.5m sale of 10 per cent of its domestic television rights to the American company Sixth Street on Thursday and is looking to sell a further 15 per cent to raise more funding.

The Catalan club have already strengthened their forward line this summer by agreeing a deal for Brazilian winger Raphinha from Leeds United on Wednesday.

It was their third signing of the transfer window following the arrivals of midfielder Franck Kessie from AC Milan and defender Andreas Christensen from Chelsea – both on free transfers.

Updated: July 14, 2022, 2:53 PM