Monday, January 30

Xavi protects Dembélé

Or on the lawn or in the infirmary, but not confined to the stands. Xavi refuses to threaten the extreme, “a key figure”, to renew.

Either he will run across the grass or lie in the infirmary. What it won’t do Ousmane Dembélé is to sit in the stands, and less as a measure of pressure to renew the contract. Maybe he sits on the bench, at most, for technical reasons. How could he be the one who faces him Betis (4.15pm), a “vital” match –All of the Barça players are, understand Xavi Hernandez, who knows what he’s talking about – against “a direct rival” in the standings. To this day, the Barça team is out of the European positions and that is something (or would be) close to catastrophe.

Something less dramatic would be – misfortune, for example? – that Dembélé rejected the renewal offer and left Barça on June 30. Above all, because Xavi holds him in very high regard. As much as he is “a key figure” in his recently started sports project.

In the first place, because Dembélé is a winger, the species that he wants to promote the most for Barça and has him at home. If the French left, he would force to buy one, and the box is not for many trots. Second, because Dembélé has filtered his category through the dropper, and he falls into the age category (24 years) that anyone would qualify as the best years of his life.

Less than half

Author of 30 goals in 121 games, it turns out that has missed more than half of the commitments of the team: 121 matches out of 248 possible shows the balance of 48.7% of activity. That is to say, Barça has gotten used to playing without Dembélé, who for half a year, from August 2017 to January 2018, was the most expensive signing in Barca’s history with the 105 million plus 40 in variables (30 have been paid) it cost. Until it came Philippe Coutinho.

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Dembélé’s departure would be an economic ruin, since he would leave without leaving a transfer amount, even if it was symbolic, but also sporting, from Xavi’s perspective. As long as he remains in the squad, he will play when the coach sees fit. Has never considered subjecting you to the extortion of blackmail: either you sign or you don’t play. A relatively frequent threat in soccer. In the Barça he was seen during the summer with Ilaix Moriba, who did not play for a minute during the preseason until went to RB Leipzig. He verbalized it himself Laporta at Emerson’s presentation.

“I do not value that option, I do not contemplate sending Dembélé to the stands if he does not renew,” said Xavi. He does not contemplate it for the double reason of his own conviction that it would not be correct or just, nor for the damage it would cause to the club’s image.

Xavi, however, is aware of the difficulties that Barça encounters in convincing Dembélé – the agent is the player’s representative – who, on the one hand, expresses his will to continue at the club and, on the other, rejects it due to the unsatisfactory economical offer.

“I do not value that option, I do not contemplate sending Dembélé to the stands if he does not renew”

Xavi Hernández / Barça Coach

Involvement and commitment

“I am aware that it is not only an economic issue, but a sports project, and we have already conveyed to him that it is very important to us, that he will be a key figure,” Xavi explained to clarify his position. “I already said that he can be the best player in the world in his position. It depends on him, his performance, involvement, commitment …”.

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A commitment that the coach has observed when seeing Dembélé’s predisposition to play without being one hundred percent. The same as Sergi Roberto, who has also just signed a contract and will enter the operating room to heal his right quadriceps muscle problems at once, and similar to that of Sergiño Dest, who has already recovered from low back pain.

Xavi can give Dembélé confidence and affection. It will help her to be happy with the ball and the game. Laporta will provide whatever ingredients it can, in the absence of money. Pampering and praising, like the coach. “For me, Dembélé is better than Mbappé”, The president proclaimed that, on the other hand, he will need many thousands of euros to break the fierce resistance of the agent, Moussa Sissoko. “I know he wants the best for the player but I hope to make him understand that the best is not money,” Laporta told TV-3.

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