Through the course of the season, Lionel Messi was the outright best player for Barcelona, registering 30 goals in the league, five in the UEFA Champions League, and three in the Copa del Rey. In second place with 18 goals was Antoine Griezmann, 20 behind Messi. Finally, with 11, a certain Ousmane Dembele took third place.
While it was his best campaign for Barcelona individually, Dembele is far from the level the club expects from him. Despite that, there is growth, which Barça want to reward with a contract extension. However, according to a report by Mundo Deportivo, as relayed by Daily Mail, the negotiations have stalled. And as such, the administration fears that Dembele has signed a pre-agreement with another team.
The World Cup winner’s current contract with Barcelona lasts till the summer of June 2022. Given the financial situation, though, the new terms offered to Dembele do not seem to be satisfactory.
In an earlier interview, Dembele stated that he wanted to wait till the European Championship was over before commenting on his situation with Barcelona. This could be a strategic move by his representatives to see his performance during the tournament, which will help drive up the price if he performs well.
Consequently, Manchester United and Juventus are the only teams moderately interested in the winger, but more teams chasing his signature could mean that Barça revise their offered terms.
Dembele is bound to fall down the pecking order with the signing of Sergi Aguero, (potentially) Memphis Depay, and the return of Ansu Fati. If anything, Barcelona should look to offload the former Borussia Dortmund man in the summer for a price in the north of €50 million. That money, in turn, can be invested to purchase a world-class defender that can solve Barcelona’s defensive woes. The likes of Pau Torres, Jules Kounde and possibly Matthijs de Ligt and Aymeric Laporte are all on the market this summer, and Barcelona would regret not signing at least one of them.