Ousmane Dembele will stay at Barcelona until the end of the season, despite Chelsea making an enquiry about signing the winger on Deadline Day – a decision that has been criticised by the Spanish giants.
The Blues reignited their interest after hearing his potential move to Paris Saint-Germain had stalled.
But the lack of time, plus financial obstacles, meant a deal was always going to be tough to conclude on Monday, and talks ultimately failed to progress.
Chelsea remain interested in signing Dembele in the summer, when he will be a free agent.
The France international’s contract expires at the end of the season, and he can now speak to clubs about signing a pre-contract ahead of a transfer in the summer.
Dembele was in Paris on Monday but returned to Barcelona after his potential move to PSG failed to materialise.
Barcelona officials told Dembele to find another club earlier this month after he decided not to accept a new contract that included a pay cut.
But the 24-year-old made it clear he wanted to stay at the Nou Camp and see out the remainder of his deal.
Dembele joined Barcelona for £97m plus add-ons from Borussia Dortmund in August 2017, but has struggled to justify his price tag due to a series of injuries and has started only six matches this season.
Laporta: We don’t understand why Dembele has stayed
Speaking at a press conference on Tueday, Barcelona president Joan Laporta addressed the situation around Dembele.
He said: “Dembele was a big investment, with a big salary. He has been one of the last minute situations. We offered him an extension, but he wanted a better offer in economic terms.
“His agent decided to stay in silence and this, of course, has consequences for the interests of the club.
“We presented two good offers for him for this remaining six months. He didn’t want to accept and we are surprised that he didn’t accept the last one with an English team.
“He has decided to stay here. It makes no sense. It is bad for him or bad for the club.
“Extending the contract would have allowed us to extend our (financial) fair play (capacity). We were working till the last minute, until 12 o’clock, with Aubameyang and it was difficult.
“We think he has an agreement with another club for the summer. This is what the agent explained to us. I don’t know what they think but we will act in the interests of the club.”
Dembele accuses Barca of ‘blackmail’
Dembele said last week he will “not give in to blackmail” after the club told him he must leave in the January transfer window.
The 24-year-old said on Instagram: “As of today, I’m going to answer honestly without giving in to any form of blackmail.
“I forbid people from thinking that I’m not committed to this sporting project. I forbid people from attributing intentions to me that I’ve never had.
“I forbid people from speaking for me or my agent, who I have total confidence in. I’m still under contract, I’m fully committed and at the disposal of the club and my coach.
“I’ve always given everything for my team-mates and also for all the fans. That’s not going to change now. I’m not a man who cheats and even less so one who’s used to giving in to blackmail. Love can certainly be a variant of blackmail.”
Follow Chelsea with Sky Sports
Follow every Chelsea game in the Premier League this season with our live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, and watch match highlights for free shortly after full-time.
Want the Chelsea latest? Bookmark our Chelsea news page, check out Chelsea’s fixtures and Chelsea’s latest results, watch Chelsea goals and video, keep track of the Premier League table and see which Chelsea games are coming up live on Sky Sports.
Get all this and more – including notifications sent straight to your phone – by downloading the Sky Sports Scores app and setting Chelsea as your favourite team.
Hear the best Premier League reaction and expert analysis with the Essential Football and Gary Neville podcasts, keep up-to-date with our dedicated Transfer Centre, follow the Sky Sports social accounts on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and find out how to get Sky Sports.