Last night Ousmane Dembélé highlighted his value to this Barcelona team by firing the La Liga champions into the lead against arch-rivals Real Madrid. Barca ended up winning 3-0 on the night, and following the game Xavi was asked about the future of his French winger and failed to rule out an exit with PSG sniffing around.
Speaking after the game to TV3, Barca manager Xavi said:
"“We will see, in the market, you never know. Ousmane, I see him happy here but in the end, it’s the players’ decision. We see him happy and if there is something he will let us know, but in principle, he is with us and he is happy”."
Dembele was one of Barca’s best players last year, scoring 5 goals and registering 7 assists in 25 La Liga games, the year before he only scored once, but put on 13 assists for his teammates.
When healthy, he is one of the best wide players in the league and an extremely dangerous weapon for Xavi to utilise, but he does have a tendency to miss time through injuries.
Later in his post-game press conference, Xavi again referenced Dembele:
"“We cannot control the market, there are clauses, It’s a player’s decision and he’ll decide what he has to decide. I see him as highly adapted, since we’ve arrived he’s told us that he’s happy, that he’s part of the family and he’s a very differential player”."
Ousmane Dembélé’s release clause
As we’ve noted, Dembele has an interesting release clause situation. For some reason that I can’t quite fathom, his contract allowed him to buy himself out of his contract in June and July for just €50 million. We’re coming to the end of July now and on the 1st of August, his release clause increases to €100 million.
In both comments that Xavi made, he alluded to the fact that the former Dortmund man is happy at Barca and that’s a widely held belief. But the chance to go home and play for the French champions may be appealing to Dembele.
Barca won’t want to lose him, you never want to lose a player of his quality. But the depth of the team is in the wide forward positions, and if Dembele were to leave, it would open up opportunities for other players.
Abde Ezzalzouli, Ferran Torres, Ansu Fati and Raphinha are all capable of playing a similar role to Dembele, although they’re largely unproven in comparison to the Frenchman.