With all the joy of Barcelona’s recent good form and then the despair of their latest fall, it’s almost easy to forget about the Ousmane Dembele contract saga is still ongoing.
The relationship between the club and their record signing (according to Transfermarkt) reached an icy standstill towards the end of January as the club tried to force the Frenchman out. Yet things have been thawing since.
Xavi Hernandez’s insistence on playing Dembele and turning him into a key part of the team has repaired his relationship with the fans at Camp Nou. The boos have been replaced by encouragement and appreciation. Although there are still some poor decisions on the pitch, Dembele has repaid his manager by becoming the joint-leading assist maker in La Liga with Karim Benzema, providing 11 goals.
At an institutional level, it seems things are becoming much more amiable too. Sporting Director Mateu Alemany travelled to Morocco to speak to Dembele’s agent last month and Moussa Sissoko has reciprocated the gesture by returning to Barcelona this week.
According to Sport, the first meeting between the two parties have been positive. Although there is still a distance between the offer and the demands, Dembele has shown a willingness to significantly reduce his salary in order to continue at the club.
Whether that will be enough remains to be seen. Significant also describes the financial problems at Barcelona and fitting Dembele into their tight budget for next season.