Barcelona are attempting to tie Ousmane Dembele down to a new contract in order to sell him at the next opportunity, according to reports in Spain.
Dembele is out of contract at the end of the season and has stalled on signing a new deal at the Nou Camp.
Barcelona had hoped to convince the 24-year-old to remain at the club, albeit on a lower salary than his current deal.
Dembele was initially happy to accept the offer of a reduced contract before reversing his decision following the £55m signing of Ferran Torres from Manchester City, according to reports.
Dembele is said to view Torres as a threat to his place in the side and has questioned whether Barcelona are merely offering him a new contract so that they can sell him in the summer, rather than having him leave on a free.
Spanish journalist Toni Juanmarti believes that is precisely what the Catalan club are planning to do.
Speaking on Spanish television show Rondeando, Juanmarti said: "They will never say it, but they only want to renew Dembele to sell him.
“Nobody can believe that Xavi wants him as a structural player in his project.”
According to Spanish publication SPORT, Dembele’s representatives are now asking Barcelona for huge salary, which could add up to €80m (£67.3m) over the course of the contract.
The report claims they have also demanded a €15m (£12.6m) agent's commission and a €30m (£25.2m) signing-on bonus, which was reportedly sacrificed when Dembele moved to the Nou Camp in a £135m transfer from Borussia Dortmund in 2017.
Barcelona deem those demands to be "crazy", according to the report, with head coach Xavi said to be left “speechless”.
However, speaking earlier his month, Xavi said he was hopeful France international Dembele would commit his long-term future to the club.
"I am not disappointed,” said Xavi.
"It's a negotiation. Sometimes advisors and agents can be difficult. But Barca's position is clear and the process is ongoing.
"I am optimistic and I hope that Ousmane will make an effort [to renew]. He has a fantastic offer.
“There's always a back and forth."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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