Liverpool have been dealt a major blow in their pursuit of Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele, with president Josep Bartomeu insisting the £368m forward ‘will go nowhere’ this summer. The news comes after Jurgen Klopp admitted he would be interested in the French international if he was made available.
Dembele joined Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund last summer and endured an injury-hit first season at the Camp Nou. The 21-year-old made just 12 starts in La Liga, scoring three goals, after spending the first-half of the campaign sidelined with a serious thigh injury.
His future was in doubt after an underwhelming debut season, especially after Barcelona were being heavily linked with Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, but the Catalans’ president has played down talk of an exit and says they’re all expecting big things from Dembele next season.
Bartomeu said, in quotes reported by Sport: “Dembele will go nowhere. He and Coutinho are a big investment for us. They are very important to our project and we expect a lot from them.
“Coutinho in the last four months has been very active in the team but Dembele is a very young player and talented and we expect great things. Next season will be different. It’s not easy to play at Barca in your first year because the style of football is quite different from at other teams.”
Until Barcelona sign Griezmann, it wouldn’t be wise to offer out attacking players given their lack of depth. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho are Barcelona’s chief attacking options in the side, with Andres Iniesta having recently left the club, but Dembele is their only cover.
Without him, they’d be heavily reliant on two players over the course of a season.
Stats from Transfermarkt.