Barcelona’s plan to flatter Ousmane Dembélé into new contract might just have backfired

Barcelona are playing a risky game with Ousmane Dembélé amid the winger’s expiring contract.

Dembélé is out of contract at the end of this season, and both Barca and head coach Xavi Hernandez have been clear that they want to keep him beyond that point.

But making their desire to public might just cost them.

In the early stages of the season, it felt as though Barca were reluctantly giving Dembélé a new deal following a long-term injury, not wanting to lose him for free given the more than €100million they spent to bring him to the club in 2017.

At the time, it seemed as though the 24-year-old would be open to signing a new deal given his situation, ruled out for the first four months of the season, and a reduced deal might even have been on the table given his failure to live up to expectations thus far.

But over recent weeks, Barca and Xavi have been on a mission to promote Dembélé, the latter discussing how the Frenchman could become one of the best in the world in his position.

That’s nice to see, and it’s good for the winger’s confidence, but from a negotiation standpoint, it’s difficult to see Barca’s plan.

Fast-forward four months from those initial contract talks and Dembélé now knows he is a crucial part of the club’s future and one of their prize possessions.

Fast-forward four months and Dembélé’s agent is playing hardball, keen for his client to be paid what he is worth.

There is also talk that Premier League clubs Manchester United and Newcastle United could offer Dembélé the chance to leave Camp Nou, whether that is in January or next summer.

Barca now find themselves in a position where they are almost begging Dembélé to stay, and they might just have to pay him what he wants to get the deal done.

And from that point of view, Barca’s plan to flatter the winger into staying appears to have backfired.

All they have done is increased his negotiation point and give him a reason to ask for a better contract despite the difficulties he has had at the club so far.

Tags FC Barcelona Ousmane Dembele Xavi Hernandez