Ronald Koeman insists he wants ‘important’ Ousmane Dembele to stay at Barcelona next season – amid Manchester United and Juventus interest in star who has just 12-months left on his contract
- Ousmane Dembele is facing an uncertain 12-months ahead with Barcelona
- The France international has entered the final 12 months of his contract in Spain
- Ronald Koeman insists Dembele is an ‘important’ player who needs to stay
- A host of top European clubs now sense a cut-price deal could be pulled off
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has insisted he wants striker Ousmane Dembele to extend his stay in Catalonia, despite growing speculation of an imminent exit.
The French star is set to see his contract at the Nou Camp expire next summer, placing Barca in an awkward position for the upcoming transfer window.
Now, Koeman has moved to shore up Dembele’s position at the club by publicly stating how much he values him, after the 23-year-old came to Barca’s aid on Monday night by scoring a 90th minute winner against Valladolid.
Ronald Koeman publicly confirmed he is hoping for Ousmane Dembele to stay at Barcelona
‘I would like Dembele to stay, he is an important player for us,’ the Dutch boss told reporters following the late victory, which placed Barca within a point of league leaders Atletico Madrid.
‘Today, he has shown that with his game and the goal. The key is that he has physically improved and has been able to play a lot of games in a row.’
Dembele was Barca’s hero on Monday after scoring a 90th minute winner against Valladolid
The uncertainty surrounding Dembele’s future means Barca must make a big call this summer, and sanction a sale should a contract extension not be agreed – or risk losing him for free in 12 months.
Many of Europe’s top clubs are now reported to be sniffing around the Frenchman, in hope of pulling off a cut-price deal for his signature.
Manchester United and Juventus are poised to be frontrunners in the race, and Barca are preparing themselves for a potential bidding war to break out. United are back in for the Frenchman having attempted to sign him on loan last summer.
A huge amount of money was committed to bringing Dembele to Catalonia in 2017, after the club opted to make him their first marquee signing following the shock departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain.
Barca coughed up an initial £96m to bring the pacey forward in from Borussia Dortmund, in a deal which is set to reach a total £136m.
Dembele has scored ten goals in all competitions for Barca so far in 2020-21 and appears on course to break his best return of 14 goals for the Blaugrana in 2018-19.
Manchester United tried to loan forward Dembele last summer and have remained interested
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