Ousmane Dembele remains a Barcelona player after failing to find an exit during the January transfer window despite being told in no uncertain terms to leave the club.
Barcelona now have a decision to make regarding the Frenchman who has been left out of Xavi’s last two matchday squads against Athletic and Alaves.
Do they continue to keep the Frenchman in the stands for the rest of the season or should Barcelona bring Dembele back in from the cold and let him play?
Xavi has already said publicly he doesn’t like the idea of putting Dembele in the stands and there have been suggestions he will talk to the club to try and find a solution.
Diario AS reckon that Xavi thinks letting Dembele train but keeping him out of the squad is “counter-productive” and will also affect the rest of the players in the dressing room.
However, it’s not clear if Joan Laporta and Mateu Alemany will agree. The club chiefs have appeared completely frustrated with Dembele and may need some convincing.
Barcelona have also moved to replace Dembele. Ferran Torres and Adama Traore have both arrived which offers Xavi plenty of options if the Frenchman is banished.
Yet Xavi will also be under a fair bit of pressure to get results with Barcelona needing to finish in the top four. Dembele may have annoyed Barca but he remains a very talented player as long as he can stay fit.
The arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang could also tempt Xavi into using Dembele, after all the two know each other pretty well from playing together at Dortmund
⏪ In Ousmane Dembele's only season for Borussia Dortmund (2016/17) he registered 12 assists in the Bundesliga— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 31, 2022
10 of those were for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Reunion at Barcelona pending... #DeadlineDay pic.twitter.com/XjvsSBYDBb
Barcelona return to action against Atletico Madrid on Sunday in a crucial game where victory would propel the Catalans past the defending champions and into the top four.
There are also more brutal fixtures to follow too. Espanyol, Valencia and Athletic are up next in February La Liga, while there are two games against Napoli in the Europa League.
President Joan Laporta was asked about Dembele at his press conference on Tuesday but wasn’t giving too much away right now about whether he would play for the club again.
“Dembélé’s position is difficult to understand,” he said. “The fact that he continues is not good for him or for the club.He is still in the squad, but we have to think about the future and the interests of the club. We think he has an agreement with another club.”
Barca may not have been able to shift Dembele in the January window but he remains a problem for the time being and one where there’s no easy answer.
So tell us what YOU think! What should Barcelona should do with Dembele? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!