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Xavi tipped to leave Dembele out of Barcelona squad for Copa del Rey tie

The Frenchman is expected to miss the trip to Athletic

Granada CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Barcelona coach Xavi is being tipped to leave Ousmane Dembele out of the matchday squad for Thursday’s trip to Athletic in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey.

Catalunya Radio reckon that Xavi plans to give the Frenchman a “wake up call” by not calling him up for the game at San Mames.

The club are angry at Dembele’s refusal to agree a contract extension and have agreed with Xavi that leaving him out is the way to go if they don’t hear from his agent in the meantime.

Xavi spoke at length about Dembele at his pre-match press conference and made it clear that the forward must renew or seek an exit.

“He says he wants to renew. He says he wants to continue. It’s a question for him. Tomorrow we have a very important game for our future in the season and I understand the interest,” he said.

“I’ve been clear and I can’t be more clear. Either he renews or we look for a way out. There are no other options. We need to make a decision and that’s what we’ve decided.”

The Barcelona coach has previously said he won’t put Dembele in the stands and repeated that in his press conference, saying it wasn’t an option and the only choices were for the attacker to renew or leave.

It will be interesting to see if the report proves accurate when Xavi names his matchday squad on Thursday ahead of the game at San Mames. The coach does have plenty of other options but leaving Dembele out would send a clear message to the Frenchman and his agent.

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