Barcelona president Joan Laporta has revealed Ousmane Dembele turned down the chance to leave the club on deadline day, while he also rejected a 'very good' contract offer from the Blaugrana.
Talks between Barça and Dembele over a new deal broke down last month and with the winger's current contract up in the summer, the club tried to shift him at the back end of the January transfer window.
90min understands Chelsea are now looking to sign Dembele on a free transfer, and Laporta said in a press conference on Tuesday that the Frenchman turned down an offer from an unnamed English club in recent days.
"We made him a very good renewal offer. The player said no, first alleging that it was not a money issue, but then he focused on the economic aspect. The agent did not tell us anything and that has consequences for the club," Laporta said.
"I am very surprised that he did not accept a proposal he had from an English club. He did not want to. It did not make sense, because it was not good for him or for the club. He would have allowed us to work with more tranquillity in the market.
"The Dembele issue is difficult to understand. Dembele is in the team and Xavi has to build a competitive squad with players who have a future at this club."
Laporta added that Barcelona believe Dembele has already reached a pre-contract agreement with another side.
"We think that Dembele already has a contract with another club, they have insinuated that to us. What we will do is defend the interests of the club," he said.