Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has dashed the hopes of clubs trying to sign exciting French winger Ousmane Dembele by suggesting the youngster is a very important player for the Blaugrana’s future.
Barca spent £135.5m to sign the 21-year-old from Borussia Dortmund last summer, but his first year in Spain was hit by injuries, restricting the France international to just 17 La Liga appearances.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp joked with reporters this week that he was interested to hear Dembele was on the market, while Arsenal were hoping chief scout Sven Mislintat’s connection to Dortmund from his time with the Bundesliga outfit could secure a loan move.
But Bartomeu has shot down any plans the Premier League duo and others may have by stating just how important Dembele and Philippe Coutinho are to Barcelona’s future.
On a trip to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston Bartomeu said: “(Philippe) Coutinho, Dembele are for us a big investment.
“They are very important players and we expect a lot from them. Coutinho probably in the last four months has been very active for the team.
“But Dembele is a very young player, a very talented player that we are, of course, expecting a lot from.
“It’s not easy to play in Barcelona the first year because the model of football is quite different from the rest. But after one year I’m sure we are going to see Dembele and Coutinho at a very high level.”
Dembele scored for France as they beat Italy 3-1 in Nice on Friday.
On Sunday, they won they won the La Liga Promises, Spain’s most prestigious youth tournament for Under-12s.
The youth team defeated Espanyol 1-0 in a close final as Ivan Rodriguez’s only goal of the game helped them record victory.
A late surge by Espanyol couldn’t break Barca’s solid defence and the Blaugrana held on, to become champions.
Earlier, Barca defeated Deportivo La Coruna in the semi-final, that needed penalty shoot-outs to decide who would go through.
📹[HIGHLIGHTS]👍 Així ha estat la victòria de l’Aleví A contra l’Espanyol a la final de #LaLigaPromises (1-0) / 👍 Así ha sido la victoria del Alevín A contra el Espanyol en la final de #LaLigaPromises (1-0), con gol de Iván#FCBMasia pic.twitter.com/ZFch4TbD9H
— FC Barcelona – Masia (@FCBmasia) June 3, 2018
The Cameroon-born France international’s new deal ties him to the club until 2023 and he will put pen to paper at the Nou Camp on Monday morning.
The 24-year-old defender, who had been linked with a move to Manchester United, has helped Barca win La Liga, two Copa del Reys and the Spanish Supercopa during his two seasons in Catalonia.
A Barcelona statement read: “Some great news for Barcelona fans, and it’s that Samuel Umtiti will continue wearing the shirt until 2023.
“The player, born in Yaounde in 1993, arrived at the club in 2016 from Lyon and in only two seasons has become an indispensable player in the Barca defence.”
Umtiti is part of Didier Deschamps’ 23-man France squad for this summer’s World Cup.
— FC Barcelona 🏆🏆 (@FCBarcelona) June 3, 2018
Provided by Press Association Sport