Laporta hands Dembélé decision to Xavi amid contract stand-off

Joan Laporta says it will be up to Xavi Hernandez to decide whether Ousmane Dembélé plays.

Dembélé remains in a troubled situation having still not signed a new contract at Barcelona.

The winger was threatened with an early departure without a contract extension, but Barcelona couldn’t convince him to leave.

Barca are now faced with losing the French winger for nothing, and the big question is whether Dembélé will be allowed to play while his future is up in the air.

Thankfully for the 24-year-old, that decision will not come from those at the top, or at least on the face of it.

“The trainer decides, of course,” claimed president Joan Laporta. “The coach will decide and it’s a decision for him.

“I do think that he works for this season and the next one, and surely it is more difficult to play a player who will surely not be here – because there should be another club – because we are building a team.

“He has not wanted to renew and this feeling is a problem that I hope can be resolved in our favour for our interest and so that he does not get hurt either.”

Dembélé will be pleased to hear that the decision is Xavi‘s, with the winger getting on well with his head coach.

But it is true that Xavi is building a long-term project, and he may well put that project ahead of anything else, to a degree.

On the flipside, Xavi must balance his project with the short-term goals, and Barcelona can’t afford to miss out on the top four and the Champions League.

The job for Dembélé, if he doesn’t agree a new contract, is to prove he can be the difference in that battle to reach the top four.

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