Barcelona will step up contract talks with Europe’s ‘assist king’ Ousmane Dembele next month.
Barca officials are due to meet Dembele’s agents again in May to try and reach an agreement for the winger to stay beyond this season. Sky Sports News revealed in March that new talks had begun.
Head coach Xavi has told president Joan Laporta that a new contract for Dembele is “a priority”.
That is in part due to the France forward’s prowess in attack this season, with the best assist-per-game ratio across all of Europe’s top five leagues.
Dembele’s 11 assists in La Liga have come at 0.69 a match – more than Lionel Messi (0.62), Trent Alexander Arnold (0.43) and Thomas Muller (0.55). This has led to him being dubbed the ‘king of assists’ in the Spanish media.
Dembele is said to be very happy with Xavi as head coach and open to listening to Barca’s offer to stay beyond his current deal, which expires on June 30.
Despite talks being set to continue next month, Dembele is expected to wait until the end of the season before making a final decision on his future.
Xavi sees Dembele as a new leader in the dressing room, recently suggesting to other players that they should follow his example following the home defeat to Cadiz.
Their relationship is said to be strong following his reintegration into the team, which marks a significant turnaround after Barca tried to force him out in January.
Barca had hoped to cash in on the France international with his contract expiring in the summer, after he refused to sign terms that his agent deemed below market value.