Barcelona will intensify contract talks with Europe’s ‘assistant king’ Ousmane Dembele next month.
Barca officials are due to meet Dembele’s agents again in May to try to 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’.
This is partly down to the French striker’s prowess in attack this season, boasting the best assist-per-game ratio in Europe’s top five leagues.
Dembele’s 11 assists in La Liga have been 0.69 per game – more than Lionel Messi (0.62), Trent Alexander Arnold (0.43) and Thomas Muller (0.55). This 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 Barca’s offer to stay beyond his current contract, which expires on June 30.
Although the talks 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 other players follow his lead after the home loss to Cadiz.
Their relationship is said to be strong after he was reinstated in the squad, 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 this summer, after he refused to sign terms his agent deemed below market value.