Thomas Tuchel has described Ousmane Dembele as a “very good player” amid talk of a Chelsea bid for the Barcelona forward.
Dembele’s future at Barcelona is in serious doubt, as the club have told him he will be sold if he does not sign a new deal.
The France international issued a statement on Thursday, saying he was available for selection and would not bow to blackmail.
Premier League
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Barcelona coach Xavi has reiterated the club’s position on Friday, saying Dembele has to sign a new deal or he will be moved on in January.
“The message is clear,” Xavi said. “Ousmane Dembele has to sign a new contract or we find a way to sell him in January. No other way.
"What I can say is that we are making a difficult decision. If he does not renew, the club has decided that they will make a decision. We have waited a long time, we have been in talks with him for five months. Either he renews or a solution is sought.
"I've been very honest with him, it's not an easy situation. All or nothing. We feel bad, but what comes first are the interests of the club. It is not contemplated that he stays in the stands. I have been very clear with Ousmane."
Chelsea have been put forward as a possible destination for Dembele in the January transfer window.
Blues boss Tuchel has worked with the forward before during his time in charge of Borussia Dortmund and although not drawn on talk of a bid, the German had positive words about Dembele.
"He’s a very good player, and I am very fortunate to have trained him in my time at Dortmund,” Tuchel said. “It was only one year, it should have been longer, but I needed to leave and he decided to leave.
"We are not in close contact, we have met here and there because of his duties for the French national team when I was in Paris. We exchanged some messages.
"I have absolutely no idea why he is in this situation, I don’t know the details, so it’s better not to talk."
Liga
'I will speak honestly without giving in to blackmail' - Dembele
20/01/2022 AT 18:08
Transfers
Dembele must sign new deal or Barca will sell - Xavi
19/01/2022 AT 12:50