Ousmane Dembele's war of words with Barcelona as Chelsea make 'significant' transfer offer


There are just 11 days remaining of the January transfer window and Chelsea are yet to make their first signing as they seek to maintain their Champions League push amid a faltering title charge. One player who has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge for a while now is Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele.

The Frenchman was a part of Thomas Tuchel's Borussia Dortmund side before he was snapped up by the Catalan giants in the wake of Neymar's sale to Paris Saint-Germain. But his time at the Camp Nou has been blighted by injuries and inconsistencies and, with his contract set to expire in the summer, a fresh start seems to be on the cards.

It was under Tuchel that Dembele enjoyed the best spell of his career so far - directly contributing to 32 goals in 55 appearances - and has previously described him as his favourite manager. So it is no surprise to see a reunion between the two touted. Following recent comments from his agent, it seems unlikely that there is any future for him in Barcelona either. Speaking to RMC Sport, Moussa Sissoko criticised the club's negotiating strategy.

"It's a stroke of pressure that doesn't work with people like us," he said. “Maybe it can work with agents who are close with Barcelona. It's not my case, I am here to defend the interests of my player. "The truth must be told. Yes, we have demanding demands, but we have already shown that Ousmane's career choices are not dictated by money, otherwise he wouldn't be here.

"Then if Barcelona wanted to negotiate, he could have tried to come to the table with us to discuss. Except that there is no discussion and threats no longer work on their side. It's forbidden. We will assert Ousmane Dembele's rights if necessary."

Barcelona have not been silent in the contract tussle, however. Director of football Mateu Almeny recently spoken out, saying the club have exhausted every avenue of approach.

"We've talked and talked, made various offers. We've tried to find a way but these offers have been systematically rejected by his agents... it seems obvious he does not want to continue at Barca and is not committed to Barca's future project.," he said via AFP reporter Tom Allnutt.

"In this scenario he and his agents have been informed that he must leave immediately because we want players committed to this project and therefore we hope a transfer will take place before Jan 31.

"On the football side the result is we do not want to have players who are not committed to Barca. The club is obviously not the one that should decide this, it's the coach, and he has. But he has all our support. It seems to us absolutely the correct approach."

Since the comments, Chelsea have reportedly only moved forward with the deal. According to Shay Lugassi of the BarcaTimes, via Simon Phillips, the Blues are one of three clubs to have made a significant offer to Sissoko for his client, including a large signing on fee.

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