The contract of Ousmane Dembele has taken up significant amounts of airtime this season and this Monday night it returned to the airwaves, as Joan Laporta sat down to an interview with RAC1.
The French winger was the subject of a public spat in January as contract negotiations between his agent and the club broke down. Since, via the hard-work and belief of manager Xavi Hernandez, Dembele has returned to be a crucial part of the team in February and March.
Following seven assists and one goal in his last five La Liga matches, attitudes have softened towards Dembele significantly. Given his good performances and Xavi’s effusive praise, many hoped he might eventually sign a new deal at Camp Nou.
However Laporta has poured cold water on those suggestions, although he did leave the door open to reconciliation.
“What happened to Dembele is a little bit similar to what happened to Sergi Roberto. We made him an offer and he didn’t accept it. We get on well with him, we like him and we see how well he is doing. If we reach an agreement, it will be within the salary limits we have established.”
“I say this with respect, but the agent is a box of surprises. He made us a little dizzy.”
Sergi Roberto finds himself in a similar position to Dembele. The Catalan midfielder runs out of contract in the summer and held out for a better deal, but from the sounds of it, may not get one.
“He had the chance to renew at the start of the season, when some of the players lowered their salary. I didn’t understand why he didn’t accept. That was the moment. Now we are changing the squad, we want to improve it. Sergi Roberto is coming off an injury, he isn’t ready to play.”
Laporta discussed a variety of topics in the interview, including future transfers and the renovation of Camp Nou.