Ousmane Dembele will miss Barcelona’s first pre-season training and medical testing on Monday after refusing the club’s latest offer and failing to sign a new contract.
The Frenchman became available as a free agent when his contract expired on July 1 after failing to reach an agreement with the Catalan giants over a contract extension despite months of talks.
The forward was given a deadline of 9pm (8pm BST) on Sunday to accept the Spanish club’s latest offer ahead of the players’ return to training following their summer break on Monday, according to AS.
The Barcelona squad will report to Ciutat Esportiva on Monday morning for medical tests, however, Dembele will not be among them.
After he failed to meet the club’s deadline, Barcelona were able to include him in the list of players to undergo the testing .
His absence from the tests in the morning also rules him out of the squad’s first pre-season training later on Monday at 7pm (6pm BST).
However, despite this stumbling block, Barcelona are said to hope that the situation will be resolved in the coming days so that manager Xavi knows whether he can count on Dembele or not in order to start planning for the coming season.
There is reportedly ‘good harmony’ in the player’s camp to look to get a deal done, while there has been more contact with the club over the past week.
A meeting between the France international’s agent Moussa Sissoko and the club last Monday had failed to bring a solution despite coach Xavi pushing for an agreement.
However, a fresh meeting on Saturday saw all parties edge towards a common ground and there is a strong belief an accord can be found once a few minor differences are ironed out and director of football Mateu Alemany gives the green light.
Amid Barcelona’s financial crisis, Dembele would reportedly be expected to take a significant pay cut to stay at the club.
The club’s last offer to Dembele would have seen him have to take a 40 per cent reduction on his former wages, settling for the same salary as Ansu Fati, so Barcelona could have stayed within the LaLiga salary cap limits, according to SPORT.
The Spanish club have made it clear this is their best deal and will not consider raising the offer.
Dembele reportedly has various offers on the table from other clubs – including Chelsea – but the pressure is mounting for him to find a new club as he enters his fourth day as a free agent.
Xavi hopes he will make a decision on his future soon so that he can begin planning for the season.
The Blaugrana boss is also still looking to sign winger Raphinha from Leeds.
Chelsea agreed a fee of £55million plus add-ons for Raphinha but Barcelona, the player’s preferred destination, countered with an offer on Thursday.
Leeds have still to accept that offer as it is understood to amount to £51m paid in instalments of £17.2m. Players have also been mooted in exchange.