Transfers

Chelsea & PSG jostling for Ousmane Dembele free transfer

Graeme Bailey
Dembele is widely expected to be on the move this summer
Dembele is widely expected to be on the move this summer / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages
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Chelsea are continuing talks with Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele as they attempt to persuade the winger to move to Stamford Bridge on a free transfer in the summer, 90min understands.

The Blues have a long-standing interest in the 24-year-old France international, whose contract is due to expire at the end of the season. No extension at Camp Nou is forthcoming with talks at an impasse due to the player's wage demands, and he is now widely expected to walk away from Barça for nothing.

The Catalan giants had hoped Dembele would sign a new deal on reduced terms, but when he rejected that offer they attempted to sell him in January - but the winger's representatives made it clear he would not be forced out.

Despite the fact he has been barracked by his owns fans, Dembele is still involved in the first team under Xavi and this week new teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang even said he was still hoping a scenario could arise that would see the Frenchman stay put.

However, sources have confirmed to 90min that a new deal remains unlikely, unless Dembele's terms are reduced from their previous, self-admittedly high level.

While he continues to play for Barcelona, Dembele and his representatives are fielding offers - although 90min understands that at this point two teams are leading the way: Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.

Both Chelsea and PSG had an interest in reaching an agreement for a cut-price transfer late in January, and both have remained in touch after that possibility was extinguished.

Sources with knowledge of the situation say that the offers on the table are similar, so it will be down to the player to decide his future in the coming months.

Given some of the problems Dembele has experienced during his five-year stay in Catalonia, including fitness, form and disciplinary breaches, 90min understands that he wants to be certain that the club he is joining next is very much the right project for him.

While he is from the outskirts of Paris, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel worked with the player during their time together at Borussia Dortmund, and he has provided glowing references to his bosses behind the scenes.

Speaking about the wide man in January in a press conference, the German said: "He’s a very good player, and I am very fortunate to have trained him in my time at Dortmund. It was only one year, it should have been longer, but I needed to leave and he decided to leave."

Chelsea are potentially open to moving on from a host of their forward players, including Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech, and they believe adding a player of Dembele's ilk would give them something different and improve their options.

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