FC Barcelona

Barcelona pushing for Ousmane Dembele stay despite concerns over lack of footballing knowledge

Tom Gott
Dembele is now officially a free agent
Dembele is now officially a free agent / Matt King/GettyImages

Barcelona are still keen to keep out-of-contract winger Ousmane Dembele, despite a report claiming some staff members at Camp Nou have little faith in his footballing knowledge.

The Frenchman allowed his contract with Barcelona to expire this summer, despite having an offer from the Blaugrana on the table since January. It is believed that Dembele has been asked to take a 40% pay cut to extend his stay at the club.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are keen on signing the 25-year-old and have been for some time - and they could step up their interest as Barcelona look to sneak in ahead of the Blues to sign Leeds winger Raphinha.

Barcelona officials had wanted Dembele to decide on his future before the squad returned for pre-season on Monday and, although that 'deadline' has passed, numerous reports from Spain state that the offer of an extension remains.

However, one of those reports, from Catalan outlet ARA, claims to have spoken to a member of Xavi's backroom staff about the situation, and the results were mixed.

"Dembele does not understand some aspects of the game, but we want him to stay," the staff member is quoted as saying.

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Manager Xavi is known to be an enormous fan of Dembele and has been a large part of the reason why an offer for the 25-year-old remains in play. He appeared to get the best out of the winger last year as Dembele racked up 11 assists and a goal in his final 14 appearances of the campaign.

With a decision over his future not yet known, Dembele continues to attract interest from elsewhere. Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are both interested but most of the interest has come from Chelsea, with Thomas Tuchel keen on a reunion with the winger with whom he worked at Borussia Dortmund.