CHELSEA have reportedly held talks with Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele in the view to sign the French international this January
Chelsea have held discussions with Ousmane Dembele as the winger edges ever closer to a Barcelona exit. The Blues have reportedly made contact with the French forward but face stiff competition from the likes of Manchester United and Juventus for his sought-after signature.
The 24-year-old has been linked with a move to a number of top teams from across Europe over recent months as his refusal to commit his future to the Blaugrana has ramped up interest.
Dembele is out of contract at the end of the current campaign and talks between player and club over a Nou Camp extension have recently ground to a halt following the Frenchman’s substantial demands.
The winger is reportedly pushing for an annual salary of £25million and a separate signing bonus of £25m, while his agent is believed to have stipulated a commission of £13m – demands which have been deemed ‘crazy’ by the Barcelona hierarchy, according to reports in Spain.
With a departure now appearing imminent, Chelsea have emerged as one of the frontrunners in the race for his signature having held discussions with the player this month, according to SPORT.
Reports in Spain also claim both Manchester United and Juventus have been in touch with the player as the three clubs look set to battle it out for his services and seal a deal to sign him on a free transfer when his contract expires in the summer.
Xavi outlined his intention of resolving Dembele’s contract issues, stating it as a ‘priority’ in the immediate aftermath of his appointment, however it now appears the Barca boss has grown tired of the transfer saga.
According to Diario AS, the Spaniard has lost his patience with the situation and feels ‘cheated’ as the club have now accepted that they will not find an agreement with the player’s representatives.
The developments come shortly after Xavi offered an optimistic update a few weeks back, insisting that he remained hopeful a deal would be reached over fresh terms.
“I am not disappointed,” Xavi admitted while discussing Dembele’s contractual situation. “It’s a negotiation. Sometimes advisors and agents can be difficult. But Barca’s position is clear and the process is ongoing.
“I am optimistic and I hope that Ousmane will make an effort [to renew]. He has a fantastic offer. There’s always a back and forth.”
Barca paid an initial £105million to sign Dembele from Borussia Dortmund back in 2017, a deal which could potentially rise to £135m, but the player has ultimately failed to fulfil his huge promise in Spain.
Bayern Munich were another side keen on his services but they too have reportedly baulked at his enormous demands while Paris Saint-Germain also appear reluctant amid suggestions they harbour concerns over the player’s physical condition, given his injury-ravaged reputation.
Despite possessing a wealth of attacking options, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel may well see the opportunity to snap up a player of Dembele’s quality on a free as one that is too good to pass up.
With both Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner blowing hot and cold this season, the French forward would provide further firepower to Tuchel’s front line.
The Blues’ chances of beating both United and Juventus to Dembele’s signature will also likely be boosted by the fact the Frenchman enjoyed a stellar season under Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund prior to his high-profile move to Spain.
A teenage Dembele hit 10 goals in 49 appearances during his one season in Germany, netting a crucial strike in the 2017 DFB Pokal final to help Tuchel claim his only silverware at the club.