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Dembele wants Barcelona stay amid Arsenal rumours

France international Ousmane Dembele (right) wants to stay at Barcelona

Bengaluru, August 9: French winger Ousmane Dembele has decided that he will reject any approach from Arsenal or any other to remain at Barcelona for another season, according to reports in Spain.

The France international endured a difficult first season at Camp Nou after he was signed from Borussia Dortmund for £135.5 million last summer.

Dembele has been subsequently linked with a move away and was reportedly concerned with Barcelona’s decision to sign Brazilian winger Malcom at the end of last month.

On Tuesday (August 8), reports claimed that Arsenal are preparing an £89m offer to sign Dembele before Thursday’s transfer deadline.

The deal comprised of an initial £8.9m loan fee with a compulsory £80m option to make the deal permanent next summer.

However, latest reports suggest that Dembele has held crunch talks with Barcelona’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu and has said that he wants to stay at Camp Nou for another season.

Dembele also fuelled speculation over a potential move to the Gunners after he had dinner with several Arsenal players last week, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery is reportedly keen for the club to recruit a new winger before the end of the transfer window, but the Gunners must offload several fringe players to accommodate any further arrivals as they have a tight budget and have already spent a fortune this summer.

Andrew Gaffney, who works for Catalan newspaper Sport, say Barcelona will not let Dembele go.

He tweeted: “Also, for those optimistic Arsenal fans out there, Ousmane Dembele *won’t* be joining your side this summer.

“Barca’s President, Josep Maria Bartomeu, met Dembele in person last week to tell him he’d be staying at the club.”

Recently, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde backed him to come good in his second season.

The Barcelona boss said: “Let’s hope it’s his season.

“He is an extraordinary player. The past year has been complicated because of the injuries, but even so he has brought us a lot.

“The important thing is that there is competition within the team. There are a lot of matches and we can not handle them with only eleven players.”

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    Story first published: Thursday, August 9, 2018, 10:00 [IST]
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