Barcelona president Joan Laporta has urged Ousmane Dembele to sign a contract extension, insisting the winger is a better player than fellow Frenchman Kylian Mbappe.
Dembele’s current deal will expire at the end of the season, and while he is reported to be keen to stay at Camp Nou, he continues to delay putting pen to paper.
That led to Barcelona giving Dembele a two-week ultimatum, urging the 24-year-old to put his money where his mouth is and actually prove his desire to remain at the club.
“He wants to stay and we want him to stay,” Laporta told TV3 of Dembele’s contract situation. “I know he wants to stay because we have a good relationship with him.
“What happens is that he has a representative and there are a number of circumstances. We have to show them that money isn’t everything. For me, Dembele is better than Mbappe.”
This isn’t the first time that Laporta has used Mbappe’s name to try and seduce Dembele. Back in October, he stressed that Barcelona turned down the chance to sign the Paris Saint-Germain man because they felt Dembele was the superior prospect.
As of yet, that flirting has not paid off and Sport claim that the ultimatum hasn’t worked either. The latest message from Dembele’s camp is that he wants to delay a decision on his future until the start of January, at which point he will be free to talk to other clubs.
Barcelona see that more as an attempt to delay things and some inside Camp Nou feel it is indicative of Dembele’s alleged desire to leave the club.
With all this going on, there have been suggestions that Barcelona could give Dembele the Ilaix Moriba treatment – threaten to leave him rotting in the stands if he does not extend his contract – but manager Xavi dismissed such a strategy, saying in the build-up to Saturday’s visit of Real Betis that Dembele is ‘happy’ and ‘available for the team’.