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New Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez is attempting to convince Ousmane Dembele to stay at the club, dealing a blow to several Premier League clubs in the process.
A new report claims that Dembele's current employers still want him to stay at the club, despite the Frenchman playing just twice so far this season.
His extended spell on the sidelines earlier this season seemingly alerted the attention of Liverpool, Manchester United and newly wealthy Newcastle United.
However, according to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo (via Inside Futbol), Xavi is working to try and keep the former Borussia Dortmund man at Camp Nou beyond this season.
Dembele arrived in Barcelona back in 2017, arriving for a huge fee well in excess of £100m. Things haven't quite panned out as he and the club would have hoped for, partly as a result of frustrating injury setbacks.
With this in mind, many were expecting that Xavi might simply wish to cash in on the forward, who, at the age of 24, could still be sold to a Premier League side for a decent fee.
And yet, with the former midfielder short on high-quality attacking options, Mundo suggest that the Barca manager is now 'trying to convince' Dembele to stay put, and bide his time.
As well as Newcastle, Bayern Munich and Juventus have also been heavily linked with the winger.
Crucially, his current Barca deal expires at the end of the season, and with contract talks having already broken down, there still seems to be a very decent chance that the player could leave Spain next summer.
He may even be on the move in January, as Newcastle United, newly financially liberated under the ownership of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, will be able to spend big in order to try and secure his signature six months early.
Dembele has scored 30 goals in 120 appearances so far for the Catalan giants, and would certainly add a new attacking dimension to Eddie Howe's Newcastle squad.
Time will ultimately tell whether Xavi's personal plea falls on deaf ears, or whether Dembele's Barca career can still be resurrected.
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