The Ousmane Dembele saga is reaching an end. Barcelona¡s pressure on the player and his camp to sign a renewal has been ramped up and another meeting that could prove decisive has been pencilled in for this week.
Meanwhile, the player's representatives have made it clear to Barça that, in the event they don't reach an agreement to renew his deal, they will not listen to other offers in January. Either Dembele renews or he leaves on a free transfer in the summer.
Both parties are playing their cards in what have been tense negotiations at times. Barça believe time is running out because Dembele can negotiate with other clubs from January. They have improved their initial offer despite the tough financial situation at the club and the player seems to be keen to reach an agreement.
Dembele has told Barça, and coach Xavi, that his intention is to stay at Camp Nou and to keep growing with the club. He's happy in Barcelona and is beginning to feel like one of the leaders of the project, as long as injuries respect him. Xavi has made it clear he wants him to stay.
The player's words have led to optimism at the club, but his agent continues without accepting the three-year renewal offer on the table. The offer includes the same base salary and various add-ons based on different objectives.
Barça are aware Dembele has much bigger offers, but they believe they can reach an agreement. But they know there has been contact with other clubs and want a solution now.
The objective, therefore, is to get things resolved quickly, which is why they have forced a meeting this week. Director of football Mateu Alemany has been speaking with the player's camp regularly. If an agreement is not reached before Dec. 31, the club would be prepared to put him on the market in January, but Dembele's agents have ruled that out.
They know the best business can be done in the summer, when a club won't have to pay a fee and can receive a succulent signing on bonus. The moment of truth has arrived and there will be news soon.