Barcelona president Joan Laporta has explained that the club has offered Ousmane Dembele a new deal, but claims the winger is ‘tempted’ by other options.
Dembele is due to be out of contract next month and Barça had wanted rid of him in January to try and avoid losing a saleable asset as a free agent without a transfer fee in the summer.
They were unable to do a deal before the winter window closed, but Dembele turned his fortunes around and has played a crucial role in the second half of the season – he has racked up 11 assists in his last 13 La Liga appearances to help assure Barça of Champions League qualification.
Yet the issue of his future has remained unresolved and Laporta has now confirmed that a fresh contract offer is on the table that hasn’t received a response from the player’s camp.
“We made our new deal proposal and we’re waiting for his answer, next week,” the president told the Tot costa show on Catalunya Radio.
Laporta also suggested that Dembele, having been prepared to commit his future to Barça, has now had his head turned by interest from elsewhere.
“He wanted to stay here at Barça but he’s now tempted by other options he considers better,” the club chief continued.
Dembele was not the only player that Laporta was quizzed on. He described an approach for Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski as ‘not easy’ and pointed to the club’s still challenging financial situation as a potential reason why it may not get done.
Meanwhile, 90min understands Lewandowski has been offered to Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham by agent Pini Zahavi, although none have taken it any further.
Barça’s finances also dictated Laporta’s response to questioning on Frenkie de Jong’s future.
“I don’t know if we will sell important players. If we complete some deals, maybe it won’t be needed. The priority is our financial situation, as of now,” he said.
De Jong has been linked with Manchester United and is interested in a reunion with former Ajax coach Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford. His potential sale could bring necessary revenue into Barcelona that would help with the annual challenge of balancing the books.