KEY POINTS

  • Dembele moved from Dortmund to Barcelona in 2017
  • He was Barca's third-highest scorer last season
  • He will be out of contract in the summer of 2022

FC Barcelona have reportedly accused Ousmane Dembele of opening talks with Liverpool and Manchester United "behind their back."

While Barcelona thought they had a new deal in place with Dembele, the La Liga giants now believe that the player’s agent has already spoken to the two Premier League clubs behind the scenes, reported Spanish publication Cuatro.

Dembele will run out of a contract at the end of the 2021-22 season. It was previously reported that following the departure of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona were planning to offer an extension to Dembele, despite the forward being injury prone. 

There was a meeting planned between Barcelona and Dembele’s representatives in September. Since no new deal has been announced yet, it is clear that the two parties have not reached an agreement as yet. 

If Dembele rejects a new deal from Barcelona, Liverpool’s sporting director Michael Edwards, who is famous for pulling off surprise signings for the Reds, is aiming to strike a deal with the Frenchman in January. Liverpool are expected to convince Dembele to sign a pre-contract in January that would see the 24-year-old forward move to Liverpool for free ahead of the 2022-23 campaign, according to soccer website Teamtalk.

Jurgen Klopp wants to bolster his attack, especially after Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino had a mixed run last season. 

Dembele moved from Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona at a massive fee of $131 million in 2017. At that time, Dembele was seen as one of the best young players in Europe and that meant, he became Barcelona’s third-most expensive signing after Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann. However, it is believed that the injury-prone Dembele has not done justice to his price tag.

Out of the four seasons at Barcelona, Dembele has managed only two seasons with 40+ appearances, across all competitions. The 2019-20 campaign was the worst of the lot where he played only nine games for the Catalans as he was sidelined for the majority of the season with various injuries.

Last season, he scored 11 goals and finished as Barcelona’s third-highest goal scorer behind Lionel Messi and Griezmann. However, Dembele is once again out of action and is yet to make an appearance in the 2021-22 campaign as Barcelona’s struggles post-Messi era continues. The Camp Nou side is currently placed ninth in the 2021-22 La Liga table.

On the front foot: Ousmane Dembele set France on the way to victory with the opening goal in Kazakhstan Ousmane Dembele moved from Dortmund to Barcelona in 2017 Photo: AFP / FRANCK FIFE

It was reported that Dembele was close to moving to Manchester United last year. Barcelona wanted to use his transfer fee to fund their move for Dutch forward Memphis Depay. However, on the deadline day, the Frenchman refused to switch to Old Trafford, leaving the Catalans furious. While Depay didn't leave Lyon last season, he finally joined the Camp Nou side on a free transfer in the summer of 2021.