Barça can’t afford the demands of Dembélé : Another agent saga story?

Ousmane Dembélé

Of hot topic in relation to his renewal, the latest meeting between Dembélé’s camp and Barcelona has destroyed mutual trust. According to Gerard Romero, Ousmane’s agent requests 40M gross salary along significant bonuses that could reached up to 40M as well. As most fans are aware, Barcelona cannot afford to pay anyone astronomical wages, may it be Ousmane Dembélé or not, notably for its wage bill that has caused worried in registrations of new players following La Liga’s tight FFP rules imposed by Javier Tebas. Needless to say that this might be the end of the story between the Frenchman and the club.

Arriving as a World Class Potential

Signed from Borussia Dortmund for 105M, Ousmane Dembélé sold himself as an electric winger with strong 1v1 abilities, an ambidextrous dribbler that would regular cut inside, with the famous chants of ‘Crochet, Crochet’ as soon as he would get past his dribbler. Barcelona did get to see some of promised magic in rare instances, such as the solo goal against Tottenham, the late equalizer against Atlético Madrid, and a few other glimpses. Unfortunately, Barcelona’s relationship with Ousmane Dembélé stalled at promises and could never reach the fulfillment of the promises promised by the Frenchman.

While the promised bride has shown signs of shines in jewelry, the phoenix seen in Ousmane Dembélé never flew higher than Icarus. Injuries, from 18/19 until this season repeated, seemingly never stopped either. Ousmane spent more and more days at the hospital through various injuries, including operations in Finland. The Frenchman missed over 30 matches due to injuries since his arrival five years ago. Once the injuries started, they seemingly never stopped. Dembélé’s life became a roller-coaster, his relationship with fans only degraded following the famous 1v1 miss against Alisson in the Champions League SF against Liverpool. There was no coming back. Fans had already had enough.

Many Fans Tired of him

Many had decided they already enough of the Frenchman and his damned injuries by then. With an astronomic salary of 17M, now 24 years old, fans could not be bothered with Ousmane’s hospital bills anymore. Of rare breed in a squad where wide wingers had become extinct, Dembélé became a divisive topic. On social media like on newspaper, carefree slandering began. Mundo Deportivo, Sport and AS started discussions around the player, whether his presence as the club was justified. Though Catalan media is known to target foreigners instead of certain homegrown products that shall not be named, those critiques were justified, to a certain extent. Ousmane Dembélé did however not help his own case, repeatedly careless about strict diet and late arrivals in training. There’s a general consensus around the Frenchman behaving like an irresponsible teenager: He had lost his head around the millions he earned by merely existing.

Not Living Up to the expectations

High salary, from reasonable thinking, comes from high performance. Dembélé showed glimpses of it, as mentioned earlier. But never could Ousmane display it regularly, either due to injuries or precaution. Most of his managers were reported to like him, and his last two managers, Ronald Koeman and Xavi, tried to bring back Ousmane to the pitch: Where he belonged, where he should have spent his time.

The Dutchman had placed high confidence in the Frenchman and started playing him: However, in his immature decisions in his dribbling, Koeman found it more suitable to use Griezmann alongside Messi. It may have been for his defensive contributions, or for the fact that the Dutchman preferred his full-backs to provide width within his system, instead of traditional wingers. Whatever it may be, Ousmane experienced a rough patch after getting repeatedly benched. And finally, another “minor” injury hit home once again, so that the Frenchman had to be ruled out once again.

A change under Xavi?

As we all know, Ronald Koeman left following a hideous lost against Rayo Vallecano and Xavi soon took over. As it had been of tradition, the new coach spoke highly of Ousmane Dembélé, a déjá vu situation. Ousmane did get regular playing time, a gravity center in the team whenever he played. The only hiccup remaining Barcelona’s preference of progression through the left instead of the right, which is Ousmane’s side. This season seemingly was the right one: A final statement, a crucial one? This season also marked the last one as per his contract, unless renewed.

Ousmane Dembélé is capable of making the difference for the following years

-Xavi Hernandez, November 2021

Alike earlier instance in his life, Ousmane’s contract renewal was marked by hiccups. For once it had not been his injuries. But someone else was injured: His agent, Moussa Sissoko. While the club had hope to secure Dembélé renewal by autumn, the player’s camp valued Ousmane higher than ever. If original negotiations were positive, comprehensive tone, it is unfortunately the last meeting that dropped all the efforts back to zero. As noted earlier, Ousmane’s agent requests 40M of gross salary as a necessity should Barcelona want to renew the player’s contract. That is above the double of his current contract. Needless to say Joan Laporta and the club are unwilling to pay this unsound amount to renew a hospital-bound player for the past years, despite the trust set by Laporta and Xavi in Ousmane.

Money Runs the world

Similar to Moriba’s situation, there are three camps with three different interests. The club wants to renew, continue to keep the player they value to include him in XI’s in the present. The player, obviously, enjoys his stay at the club and wants to continue playing, especially when having his coach’s trust. The major hiccup, however, is the player’s camp, his agent or/and his family.

Requesting a higher salary despite being on a record-high salary does not exactly seem sound. In a world where agents seek for money, those disputes are not rare: When the difference is high, a split is not rare. Players are free to sack their agents, but in Moriba’s and Ousmane’s case, that did not happen. For private reasons that only they know of, those agents continue to represent them when negotiating with the club. Joan Laporta, aware he has got other issues, cannot wait indefinitely. The club showed the door to Moriba, and Ousmane is seemingly on a similar track, too.

The club will look for a replacement

Ousmane’s profile, as a player, is also not rare in today’s market. Antony from Ajax is a name the media connects with the club more than once: For this reason, the club is at the same time the victim and the party in power. It is the victim for its dramatic economical loss: Should there be no sale of the player, unlikely, Barcelona will have bought the player for 100M+ to only let him leave for free, obviously sub-optimal financial loss. With other players ready to take Dembélé’s place on a much lower wage, it also allows Barcelona to furthermore lighten its goddamned wage bills that provoked worried around new signings when registered to La Liga.

Barcelona can not afford any mistakes. At a critical stage, it needs to stay firm. There are two choices: Either choosing to fulfill the demands of the agent, or staying firm, denying the player time, and refusing to the renewal. As of today, the latter seems most likely, one that would go in line with how the club handled Moriba’s situation.

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