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Report: Third-placed side fear losing Liverpool-linked star who ‘offers something different’

According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona fear losing Ousmane Dembele on a free transfer next year, amid interest from Liverpool.

Barcelona hope Dembele will agree a new contract at the Camp Nou with his current terms expiring in 2022. The La Liga giants want the Frenchman to extend his stay as the 24-year-old still has a long career ahead.

Dembele has turned around his Barcelona career in the past 12-months after being made available for a transfer. The wing wizard overcome Ronald Koeman’s initial reluctance to field him and went on to enjoy a strong campaign.

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As Dembele also put his injury problems in the past, Barca President Joan Laporta has informed the forward’s agent of his desires to agree on a new contract. However, the former Borussia Dortmund star has so far delayed responding to the offer.

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Instead, contact has proven difficult despite an initial suggestion that he was receptive to committing his future. This could be down to Dembele and his agent wanting to wait until after Euro 2020 in case his performances demand a more lucrative wage.

But Barcelona fear there are greater factors at play that could see Dembele leave for free next year. They interpret his delay in a decision as the forward having an agreement in place to sign a pre-contract in January when he is free to negotiate with any side of his choosing.

If Dembele’s desire is to leave, Barcelona will look to sell him this summer having paid €140million (£120m) in 2017. Juventus are a potential destination having shown the most interest last year, although could face competition from Liverpool.

The Reds, plus Manchester United and PSG, are touted to have Dembele on their radars ahead of the summer market.

TBR’s view: Liverpool must advance Dembele interest

With Dembele also stating recently that he is unsure of where his future will be beyond Euro 2020, Liverpool must advance their interest if Klopp wants the winger at Anfield. A window for the Reds to strike a deal is seemingly opening wider as Barcelona wait for his decision.

But Liverpool cannot wait too long before launching any pursuit, as doing so gives Juventus and Manchester United a chance. All will want a player of Dembele’s quality in their ranks if he is available, as he offers something unique.

“I like the player because he offers something different to [Antoine] Griezmann, [Francisco] Trincao or Leo [Messi],” Koeman said in January, via Marca. “He’s excellent in one-on-one situation and can play with both feet.”

Dembele’s unique talents returned 11 goals and five assists over 44 games in all competitions last season. But he could only help Barcelona to claim a third-placed finish behind Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

Of his six La Liga strikes, four came with his left foot and two with his right. Only Mohamed Salah (19) scored more left-footed goals in the Premier League for Liverpool in 2020/21.

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