Barcelona president Joan Laporta has confirmed that Xavi could use Ousmane Dembele for the remainder of the season following the club’s failed attempts to sell the player in January.
Barça have repeatedly been unable to agree a new contract with Dembele, who is set to leave Camp Nou as a free agent in the summer – five years after a €145m transfer from Borussia Dortmund made him one of the most expensive players in history.
The Catalans had made clear their determination to sell him before the recent transfer deadline. But despite strong links with Paris Saint-Germain late in the window, no deal could be arranged to offload the 24-year-old Frenchman.
It was later suggested that Barça could try to cancel the remainder of Dembele’s contract, with the possibility that he would be banished and no longer involved with the team until it expired.
However, that hasn’t been the case and Laporta has now confirmed that the player will continue to be a part of coach Xavi’s plans.
“Xavi supported the club’s position in the winter market, but now he wants to use Dembele if he considers it necessary,” the president told journalist Manu Carreno ahead of Sunday’s La Liga fixture against Atletico Madrid.
Dembele was indeed included in the Barça squad for the game against Los Rojiblancos, taking a place on the bench at Camp Nou. He did not make it onto the pitch though, with Xavi favouring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nico Gonzalez and Sergino Dest when making his changes.
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