Dembélé may still sign new Barça deal, says vice-president Yuste
Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele appeared certain to be on his way out of Camp Nou, but he may now stay on in a remarkable U-turn.
Ousmane Dembélé may yet sign a new contract with Barcelona after going from strength to strength under head coach Xavi, according to the club's vice-president Rafa Yuste.
France international Dembélé was informed by Barça director Mateu Alemany to leave the club "immediately" in January after repeatedly turning down the offer of a new deal.
The 24-year-old was linked with a number of heavyweight clubs in the most recent transfer window, but a move away from Camp Nou did not materialise before the deadline.
Key player for Xavi
Dembélé has since been integrated back into the side by Xavi and is once again a key player for Barça now that his injury issues appear to be behind him.
It looked certain the former Borussia Dortmund forward would leave on a free transfer at the end of the campaign, but Yuste is not ruling anything out.
"As you know, negotiations did not bear fruit on their day, but Xavi tells us he is an exceptional player and he contributes a lot to the club," Yuste told Catalunya Radio.
"I think Xavi is doing fundamental work, including psychologically, because Dembélé is better understanding the system. It's clear Xavi is a reference for the players.
"If he feels more and more comfortable, which I think will be the case, I do not rule out that we can meet with his agent again with the possibility of him continuing with us."
Dembélé on fire of late
Dembélé set up two goals for Barcelona in Sunday's stunning 4-0 win over fierce rivals Real Madrid as the Catalan outfit made it 12 games without defeat in all competitions.
Those seven assists have come from an expected assists (xA) return of 3.6, which is the biggest positive differential of any player in the Spanish top flight this calendar year.
Barcelona working on deals
While tying down Dembélé to fresh terms is now back on the agenda for Barcelona, the club are also continuing to work on new deals for Gavi and Ronald Araújo.
"We are working on this to the maximum, within our possibilities," Yuste said. "The manager is optimistic about the situation. They are all happy, which makes negotiations easier."
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