Ousmane Dembele told he must leave Barcelona before end of January

French attacker can leave for free when his contract expires in the summer

Ousmane Dembele has made 87 La Liga appearances in four-and-a-half seasons at Barcelona scoring 18 goals. AFP
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Barcelona have told French attacker Ousmane Dembele that he must leave the club before the end of January.

Dembele, who joined the La Liga giants from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 in a deal worth €140 million, has yet to agree a new deal and can leave for free when his contract expires in the summer.

Debt-ridden Barca are desperate to avoid that scenario and want to pocket some cash in the current transfer window.

“With Ousmane and his agent we began conversations around July so it's been six months and a bit,” said Barcelona director of football Mateu Alemany.

“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 today, January 20, eleven days before the last period of his contract ends, 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.

“In this scenario he and his agents have been informed that he must leave immediately because we want players committed to this project and therefore we hope that a transfer will take place before January 31.”

Manager Xavi Hernandez left the 24-year-old out of his squad to Athletic Bilbao in their last-16 Copa del Rey clash on Thursday.

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Dembele has been linked with a host of clubs, including Premier League sides Manchester United, Liverpool and Saudi-backed Newcastle United.

“He wants to stay but it has not been agreed so we have to make a decision as a club and that is either to renew or find an exit,” said Xavi, who took over at Camp Nou in November.

“It's a shame. He has played every possible minute since I have been coach. It is not an easy or pleasant situation, but the interests of the club are paramount.”

Dembele has struggled with injuries during his spell in Spain, making 87 La Liga appearances in four-and-a-half seasons, scoring 18 goals. He has been capped 27 times by France scoring four goals.

Updated: January 20, 2022, 10:49 AM