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‘Surely, Love is a Kind of Blackmail’ – Ousmane Dembele Hits Back at Barcelona After Being Told to Choose Between Signing New Contract or leaving the Club Immediately


Ousmane Dembele

Footballer, Ousmane Dembele has hit back at Barcelona after he was told to leave the club immediately or accept a new contract.

The France international was informed by the club’s manager, Xavi on Wednesday, January 19, that he would have to depart Camp Nou unless he signed a new contract.

He was dropped from the squad for their clash with Athletic Club on Thursday with director of football Mateu Alemany claiming the winger is not willing to sign terms on a new contract.

Alemany said at a press conference ahead of the Copa del Rey meeting with Athletic Club: “With Ousmane and his agents we started conversations around the month of July.

“In all this time, almost seven months, we have talked, Barca has made different offers, we have tried to find a way for the player to continue with us and those offers have been continuously rejected by his agents.

“It seems obvious to us that the player does not want to continue at Barcelona and is not committed to Barca’s future project.

“We told him and his agents that he must leave the club immediately because we want to have players committed to the project.

“We expect a transfer to take place before January 31. The sporting consequence is that we don’t want to have players who don’t want to be at Barca.

“The fact that he was not in the [squad] list for today is the consequence of this whole process. The coach has our full support, it’s a consistent attitude.”

The Barcelona star has now fired back, describing attempts to force his exit as “blackmail”.

In his own lengthy statement posted in French and Spanish on his social media handles, the winger argued that his future lies in the hands of his agent and that he just wishes to play.

“I forbid anyone to speak in my place, in place of my agent, who I have complete confidence in,” Dembele wrote on Instagram.

“I am still under contract. I am fully at the disposal of my club and my coach.

“I am not a man who cheats and even less a man who has a habit of giving in to blackmail. Surely, love is a kind of blackmail. There are negotiations. I let my agent handle it, it is his turf.

“My field is football, simply playing football, sharing moments of joy with my team-mates, our supporters. Let’s focus on the essentials – winning.”

Dembele has spent the last four-and-a-half seasons at Camp Nou, having initially joined the club from Borussia Dortmund for €145 million (£121m/$164m) in 2017, but now only has six months left to run on his contract.

Barca have been trying to sign the 24-year-old on new terms for several months but there has been no sign of a final agreement being reached, with Xavi warning the winger that he was running out of time to make a decision.

“The message is clear. Ousmane Dembele has to sign a new contract or we find a way to sell him in January. No other way,” Xavi said in a press conference on January 19.

“It is not contemplated that he stays in the stands. I have been very clear with Ousmane.”

Dembele has appeared in 11 games across all competitions in 2021-22 so far and has only managed to record one goal and two assists.

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