KEY POINTS

  • Ousmane Dembele's current Barca deal will expire in the summer of 2022
  • He has made only five appearances for Barca this season
  • Dembele is yet to score for Barca in the 2021-22 term

FC Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele is reportedly set to reject a move to Manchester United. 

Dembele has less than six months left on his current contract at Barcelona and he’ll be free to begin negotiations with other clubs starting Jan. 1, 2022. While Manchester United have made contact with Dembele’s representatives, the Frenchman could instead choose to reunite with Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea, reported Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo

Tuchel was Dembele’s manager at Borussia Dortmund during the 2016-17 season, the player’s only term at the Bundesliga club. Under Tuchel, Dembele had an excellent campaign, where he netted 10 goals and 21 assists in 49 competitive appearances for Dortmund. That attracted Barcelona’s interest as the La Liga club went on to sign Dembele at $131 million in the summer of 2017. 

The 24-year-old forward has "no intention" of moving to Manchester United due to the competition in attack with Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho who are currently the preferred options on the right side, according to soccer website Teamtalk

It is understood that Chelsea boss Tuchel is also an admirer of Dembele, who has had an injury-hit career at Barcelona. Chelsea are Dembele’s first preference at present as he believes he may get more chances at Stamford Bridge with Christian Pulisic most likely to depart. 

It has been reported that Barcelona have given Dembele a two-week deadline to make a final call of his Camp Nou future by Dec. 15. It is Dembele's agent who is slowing down the contract talks, which has frustrated Barcelona further. 

Dembele's agent, Moussa Sissoko, has been purposely delaying contract talks by asking for clarification about Dembele's role at the club and the Catalans suspect the former is looking to offer his client to the highest bidder.

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

In the underway season, Dembele has once again been hit with a series of injuries. So far, he has made only five competitive appearances for Barcelona in 2021-22 and is yet to score his first goal of the campaign. 

He started for Barcelona in their latest Champions League fixture against Bayern Munich but could not make an impact. The five-time champions suffered a 3-0 loss at Allianz Arena and as a result, Xavi-managed Barca have been eliminated from the European competitions. Barcelona have been dropped down to Europa League, the second-tier European competition.