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Chelsea have been handed a blow in their pursuit of out of contract winger Ousmane Dembele this summer after his camp made it clear that he wants to remain at Barcelona.
The 25-year-old is set to leave Barcelona next week when his contract comes to an end following five years at the Camp Nou having arrived for a blockbuster fee of in excess of £100 million from Borussia Dortmund back in 2017.
His time in Spain has been overshadowed by injury, but last season he returned for the second half of the season from a knee injury and played in 15 of their last 16 La Liga fixtures.
Chelsea have shown interest in Dembele, who has previously worked under Thomas Tuchel during their time at Dortmund, and were considering a move for the Frenchman.
Dembele has a contract offer on the table from Barcelona, but his entourage want it improved. However, with no other options available currently, he may be left with no choice but to agree an extension.
As reported by Achraf Ben Ayad, his camp said: "Dembele wants to stay because the coach loves him, the player feels happy in Barcelona and is used to it.
"He is in his prime years, hence, the club's offer should not be far from the other offers we have."
(🌕) Message from Dembele’s entourage: “Dembele wants to stay because the coach loves him, the player feels happy in Barcelona and is used to it. He is in his prime years, hence, the club's offer should not be far from the other offers we have” @Benayadachraf #Transfers 🇫🇷🚨— Reshad Rahman ✆ (@ReshadRahman_) June 22, 2022
Chelsea's top attacking target is Manchester City's Raheem Sterling. They are likely to prioritise a pursuit of the England international over him this summer.
For Tuchel's side, wages are proving a tough obstacle to overcome which could halt the Blues from making a late swoop to convince Dembele of not extending at Barcelona this month.
Tuchel has informed the Chelsea hierarchy that he is keen on Dembele and wants to sign him, but that is now in the hands of the winger and board if they want to back the head coach.
Last week, Dembele was asked about his future by a fan and insisted he was fine in Barcelona.
Dembele's future will become clearer in the coming days but Tuchel has given his seal of approval after they were also linked with him back in January.
“He is a very good player when he is in his top level.
"I am very fortunate to have trained him in my time at Dortmund.
“It was only one year, it should have been longer. I needed to leave and he decided to leave."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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