Paralysed. That's the latest on Ousmane Dembele's future at FC Barcelona. It is not clear where the French forward, who is out of contract in 2022, will be playing next season.
One of the outstanding players at Barça this season, after turning things around under coach Ronald Koeman, Dembele has still not responded to the offer the club made for him to renew his deal two weeks ago.
Representatives from Barça met with Dembele's agents to try and thrash out the terms and the club made a proposal for the winger to extend his stay at Camp Nou.
Barça want the former Borussia Dortmund man to stay at the club but the delay in a response has led them to suggest his camp has a different 'strategy.'
This is the typical moment when a player is in the final year of his deal and the club must decide whether to sell or renew (Neymar and Mbappe are in the same situation, for example) and Barça believe that the lack of interest from Dembele suggests he wants to leave for free in 2022.
'Free' for Barça's accounts, that is, but not for the club where he ends up, given they will have to pay commission, a signing-on fee and a salary bigger than what he currently earns... as is currently happening with David Alaba. The Austrian is out of contract at Bayern Munich this summer and Madrid will have to pay his agent, Pini Zahavi, commission and the player a signing-on fee and a juicy salary.
Given the risk of losing Dembele for free, Barça will put him on the transfer market this summer if they can't find a middle ground over a renewal. They would ask for between €50m and €60m for a player they paid an initial €105m for in 2017.