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Ousmane Dembele: Chelsea interested in summer transfer with winger set to stay at Barcelona until end of season

Ousmane Dembele was told to leave Barcelona this month after he turned down the offer of a new contract; France winger can leave Nou Camp on free transfer when his deal expires in the summer; Chelsea made Deadline Day enquiry about Dembele and are interested in pre-contract agreement

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Back in June last year, Ousmane Dembele scored for France against Wales in a friendly

Ousmane Dembele will stay at Barcelona until the end of the season, despite Chelsea making an enquiry about signing the winger on Deadline Day - a decision that has been criticised by the Spanish giants.

The Blues reignited their interest after hearing his potential move to Paris Saint-Germain had stalled.

But the lack of time, plus financial obstacles, meant a deal was always going to be tough to conclude on Monday, and talks ultimately failed to progress.

Chelsea remain interested in signing Dembele in the summer, when he will be a free agent.

The France international's contract expires at the end of the season, and he can now speak to clubs about signing a pre-contract ahead of a transfer in the summer.

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Back in June last year, Ousmane Dembele scored for France against Wales in a friendly

Dembele was in Paris on Monday but returned to Barcelona after his potential move to PSG failed to materialise.

Barcelona officials told Dembele to find another club earlier this month after he decided not to accept a new contract that included a pay cut.

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But the 24-year-old made it clear he wanted to stay at the Nou Camp and see out the remainder of his deal.

Dembele joined Barcelona for £97m plus add-ons from Borussia Dortmund in August 2017, but has struggled to justify his price tag due to a series of injuries and has started only six matches this season.

Laporta: We don't understand why Dembele has stayed

Speaking at a press conference on Tueday, Barcelona president Joan Laporta addressed the situation around Dembele.

He said: "Dembele was a big investment, with a big salary. He has been one of the last minute situations. We offered him an extension, but he wanted a better offer in economic terms.

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Back in June last year, Ousmane Dembele scored for France against Wales in a friendly

"His agent decided to stay in silence and this, of course, has consequences for the interests of the club.

"We presented two good offers for him for this remaining six months. He didn't want to accept and we are surprised that he didn't accept the last one with an English team.

"He has decided to stay here. It makes no sense. It is bad for him or bad for the club.

"Extending the contract would have allowed us to extend our (financial) fair play (capacity). We were working till the last minute, until 12 o'clock, with Aubameyang and it was difficult.

"We think he has an agreement with another club for the summer. This is what the agent explained to us. I don't know what they think but we will act in the interests of the club."

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Gary Cotterill reports that Ousmane Dembele is set to stay at Barcelona despite late interest from Chelsea.

Dembele accuses Barca of 'blackmail'

Dembele said last week he will "not give in to blackmail" after the club told him he must leave in the January transfer window.

The 24-year-old said on Instagram: "As of today, I'm going to answer honestly without giving in to any form of blackmail.

"I forbid people from thinking that I'm not committed to this sporting project. I forbid people from attributing intentions to me that I've never had.

"I forbid people from speaking for me or my agent, who I have total confidence in. I'm still under contract, I'm fully committed and at the disposal of the club and my coach.

"I've always given everything for my team-mates and also for all the fans. That's not going to change now. I'm not a man who cheats and even less so one who's used to giving in to blackmail. Love can certainly be a variant of blackmail."

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