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Barcelona would not have had a chance of renewing Dembele without Xavi’s intervention

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Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

FC Barcelona’s effort to tie Ousmane Dembele down to a new contract took a new road yesterday as club sporting director Mateu Alemany held talks with the player’s agent, Moussa Sissoko, in Morocco this week.

However, it seems the they have not reached an agreement as Alemany is already on his way back to Barcelona. Reports say that another meeting is set to take place soon.

Barcelona were locked in negotiations with the Frenchman during the January transfer window. But his exorbitant demands had left the club’s hierarchy in shock, with the Catalans asking the player to find a new club in January.

Joan Laporta and co. had their best to force the former Borussia Dortmund starlet out of the club, with the Barcelona president publicly insinuating that the player had agreed deal to sign for a new club.

Barcelona’s shift in stance over Dembele, three months later, is a testament to the improvement the player has made under Xavi.

Indeed, the explosive winger has enjoyed a swift turnaround since the start of February. He has registered one goal and eight assists in his last ten competitive outings, with his productivity in the final third playing a vital role in Barça’s renaissance.

Dembele remains determined to continue at Camp Nou, due to his return to form and an excellent relationship with Xavi. But the player continues to hold out for a lucrative deal.

When the Frenchman had talks with Barça back in January, there was a significant disparity between what the player was demanding and what the club were offering.

In fact, the club was convinced that the Frenchman will not, in fact, renew his contract. As such, Joan Laporta was set to give him the Ilaix Moriba treatment and send him to the stands for the remaining six months of his contract.

Courtesy of Xavi’s intervention, though, Dembele became a part of the squad dynamics and is playing better than ever before in a Barcelona shirt.

In fact, he is among the first names on the starting lineup for Xavi. The coach was convinced that the Camp Nou that was boo-ing Dembele would soon be applauding him.

In no less than two months, Xavi’s prediction has come true as the home crowd stood in applause after his display vs Sevilla on the weekend where he created seven chances and registered an assist.

Barcelona aim to minimise that disparity by holding talks with Sissoko in Marrakech this week. It remains to be seen whether Alemany’s negotiation skills come to the fore up against representatives hell-bent on extracting the most of the club’s finances.

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