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Barcelona give Dembélé two options: free agency or the sack

Barcelona have run out of patience with Ousmane Dembélé after his refusal to leave in January and are prepared to cut their losses on a €105m investment.

Barcelona's French forward Ousmane Dembele looks on during a training session at the Joan Gamper training ground.

FC Barcelona are prepared to take a hard line with Ousmane Dembélé after the France winger’s refusal to accept a new contract offer or a move away from Camp Nou in January, with PSG, Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham all inquiring after the 24-year-old but being put off by the financial demands required to complete a signing. As far as Barcelona are concerned, Dembélé has kicked his last ball for the club and won’t feature again under Xavi Hernández this season.

As such, AS has been informed, the Barcelona board are considering two courses of action: handing Dembélé free agency so that he can move after the expiry of the January deadline, or simply rescinding his contract unilaterally and releasing the Frenchman. The first option is preferred by both parties, Dembélé being handed the opportunity to look for another club while Barça continue to pay his wages until such time as he leaves. In that case, Barça can still save money on his salary while allowing Dembélé time to find a new club. However, in order for Dembélé to be handed free agency there has to have been a previous agreement the player and the club, which AS understands is not the case, for the simple reason that Dembélé does not wish to leave.

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Xavi not interested in sending Dembélé to the stands

If the winger refuses to accept free agency, Barça are considering another, more drastic option, but equally effective from Xavi’s point of view: sacking Dembélé and paying the full amount of the final six months of his contract. In that case, Barça would have to stump up Dembélé’s wages until 30 June, but would then be free of any future obligation or association with the player.

What is clear is that Barça will not consider Dembélé wearing the shirt again. Following recent indiscretions including arriving late for a team meeting and reportedly demanding a €45m signing on bonus, Xavi has decided it would be counter-productive for Dembélé to continue to be involved with the first-team squad. The Barça boss has previously said he sees little point in consigning Dembélé to the stands for the remainder of the season and the club will seek to end their association with a player they paid Borussia Dortmund a fee of €105m plus add-ons of up to €40m for in 2017.