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BARCELONA

Xavi ultimatum to Dembélé: "Sign the contract or be sold"

Barcelona's patience with Ousmane Dembélé has run out and the winger will be sold or spend the rest of the season in the stands if he doesn't sign a new deal.

Update:
Xavi ultimatum to Dembélé: "Sign the contract or be sold"
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Barcelona coach Xavi has issued an ultimatum to Ousmane Dembélé - either sign a new contract with the club or leave this month. Barça have been in discussion with the winger for months about an extension to his deal, which expires at the end of the season.

Dembélé has struggled badly with ongoing injury problems since his move from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 for an initial €105million, which have hampered his attempts to establish himself as a key player at Camp Nou.

Xavi, though, has been eager to see the France international stay at the club despite him playing just six times in LaLiga this season and in only 52% of all Barça's league games since his arrival.

This week, Dembélé's agent Moussa Sissoko told RMC Sport that he would not bow to "pressure" from Barça over his client's future and accused the club of making "threats of no longer playing in the side" rather than engaging in productive talks.

Enough is enough

It appears Xavi and Barça's directors have had enough of the situation and the message to Dembélé is clear.

"What I can say is that we are making a difficult decision. If he does not renew, the club has decided they will make a decision," Xavi told reporters ahead of Thursday's Copa del Rey clash with Athletic Club. "We've waited a long time. We have been in talks with him for five months. Either he renews or we look for an exit. In the end, the club has decided that if he does not renew, a solution must be found. We have to do what is best for the club. [Sporting director] Mateu Alemany has been talking with him and his representatives for months. It's not a pleasant situation for anyone, but what's clear is that the interests of the club must prevail here. He told me he wants to stay. It's a question for him. I've been really clear; I can't be more concise. Either he renews, or we look for an exit. It's all or nothing."

Xavi also made it clear he considers it a priority to extend the contract of defender Ronald Araújo, which expires at the end of next season. "His renewal is a priority. He's a really important piece. He has a winning character," he said. "I hope an agreement is reached because he's a player for the present and the future. Ronald is a boy who adds a lot."

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