Dembele’s agent slams Barca for banish threats

Winger Ousmane Dembele’s agent has said Barcelona’s threat of benching him for the remainder of his contract will not force him to renew. Dembele, 24, has been free to speak with other clubs since Jan. 1 after moving into the final six months of his deal at Camp Nou.

Barca want to extend his terms but have been unable to reach an agreement with his representative, Moussa Sissoko, who said the Catalan club have been unwilling to negotiate.

“It is intimidation and it doesn’t work with us,” Sissoko told RMC. “Maybe it works with agents who are part of the Barcelona old boys’ network, but that’s not the case with me. I am here to defend the interests of my player.

“We’re not here to fuel debates on social media, but the truth must be told. Yes, we have certain demands, but we’ve already shown that Ousmane’s career choices aren’t dictated by money, otherwise he would not be here.

“If Barca wanted to negotiate, they could have come to the table with us to talk. Except there has been no discussion, just threats of no longer playing him [if he doesn’t renew]. That is forbidden and we will assert Ousmane’s rights if necessary.”

some members of the Barca hierarchy are in favour of banishing Dembele to the stands if he runs his contract down. Coach Xavi Hernandez has said he would be against such measures.

Meanwhile, director of football Mateu Alemany has said that Barca’s final offer to Dembele and Sissoko remains on the table but that the club need a response “as soon as possible.”

Dembele has been linked with a range of clubs across Europe, including Manchester United, Chelsea, Newcastle United, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, among others.