The Frenchman’s contract will expire at the close of play on Thursday
Ousmane Dembele’s Barcelona contract ends on Thursday. The Frenchman will officially become a Barcelona player at the end of the day. He either has to accept the contract offer on the table or join another club on a free transfer.
The same situation happened with Lionel Messi last season. As it is effectively treated as a signing by LaLiga, the renewal must comply with the league’s strict financial renewals.
Barça suffered until the last moment last summer to be able to register Memphis Depay for action in the Spanish top flight, for example.
Right now (the club hopes to announce the pulling of the first financial lever on Thursday), Barça cannot register the two signings they have made on free transfers: Christensen and Kessie.
The same would be true if Dembele signs a new deal. The Frenchman’s case is still one of the great unknowns. The situation has fluctuated throughout the last year without any resolution.
There will be news on Thursday: Dembele will stop being a Barça player. And he is tired of the situation: he doesn’t want the uncertainty to continue. He wants to know his future and he wants to know it now. Barça’s position is clear, though: they won’t increase their last offer.
Dembele now knows that he either accepts it or it’s unlikely he will continue at Camp Nou. The player’s camp, meanwhile, are as clear as they have been during negotiations. They don’t rule out giving Barça more time, with Xavi keen for Dembele to stay, but won’t accept the current terms.
At the same time, there is difficulty in replacing Dembele, with the money not there for Leeds United’s Raphinha, who is close to Chelsea.
Barça have already lost Adama Traore, whose loan ended, and Dembele is their only other natural winger. There are also concerns about Ansu Fati’s fitness. Xavi is waiting on Dembele.