Barcelona: We don’t know why Dembele stayed | Chelsea interested in summer deal

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.

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Back in June last year, Ousmane Dembele scored for France against Wales in a friendly

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.

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Back in June last year, Ousmane Dembele scored for France against Wales in a friendly

“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.”

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Gary Cotterill reports that Ousmane Dembele is set to stay at Barcelona despite late interest from Chelsea.

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.”

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Arsenal confirm Aubameyang exit by mutual consent ahead of Barca move

Arsenal have confirmed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has left the club by mutual consent ahead of his move to Barcelona on a free transfer.

Aubameyang trained with his new Barcelona team-mates on Tuesday after agreeing a dramatic Deadline Day move to the Spanish giants from the Gunners.

An Arsenal statement on Tuesday night confirmed Aubameyang’s exit: “We wish Auba all the best for the next chapter in his career and thank him for his contribution to the club.”

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Barcelona president Joan Laporta said the club hoped to unveil the 32-year-old this week, along with fellow new signing Adama Traore, who re-joined the club from Wolves.

Laporta said: “We will present Adama Traore tomorrow and, if everything continues well, we will also present Aubameyang.”

Arsenal were willing to allow Aubameyang to leave after stripping him of the captaincy in December following a disciplinary issue.

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After Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang completed a deal to join Barcelona, we take a look back at some of his best Premier League goals for Arsenal

Aubameyang has not played for Arsenal since December 6, and was left out of their squad for their warm-weather training camp in Dubai.

Aubameyang, who scored 92 goals in 163 games for the Gunners and won the FA Cup in 2020, leaves the Emirates with 18 months left of his contract worth £350,000 a week.

The Premier League club are estimated to be making a saving of around £25m in wages with Aubameyang’s departure. But his exit means Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will finish the season with just two recognised strikers in his squad, with both Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette out of contract in the summer.

The deal for Aubameyang to join the Catalan side had looked off earlier on Deadline Day after talks broke down over the financial part of the deal.

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Take a look at how one of the biggest moves on Deadline Day happened as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left Arsenal for Barcelona on a free transfer

But it is understood that Aubameyang took a significant pay cut to facilitate the move.

The Gabon captain leaves Arsenal after four years at the club, having joined from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 for a then club-record fee, understood to have been £60m.

Analysis: A risk for Arteta and Arsenal

Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol:

“This is a big risk by Mikel Arteta, because what happens if Aubameyang goes to Barcelona and scores a lot of goals?

“It just shows how much Arsenal are backing the judgement of their manager. Arteta is saying ‘I know he is our best goalscorer, he is the club captain, he is the highest earner at the club for disciplinary reasons l don’t want him at the club’. It’s a big, big call.

“I know he is leaving Arsenal under a bit of a cloud but there are also a lot of good memories. His ratio of goals to games is right up there with the great players.

“Arsenal supporters will say ‘we are weaker now than we were at the start of the window’. But in this instance, you have to back Mikel Arteta’s judgement – that is what the Arsenal owners are doing.”

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Kevin Campbell says Arsenal are playing ‘Russian roulette’ by not bringing in a new striker to replace Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang who moved to Barcelona

Analysis: Aubameyang had lost his way

Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:

“The drop in performance levels has been so great that it is probably worth reminding people that Aubameyang was a world-class striker for much of his time at Arsenal.

“Indeed, from the day of his debut for the club in February 2018 until the day of his double against Everton in February 2020, no player scored more Premier League goals. He scored 49 times in that period, the same as Mohamed Salah and a dozen more than Harry Kane.

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Former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor has his say on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future and believes it is not the player with the issue, but the club

“There was a notable highlight after that when he scored twice in Arsenal’s FA Cup final win over Chelsea in the summer of 2020. But almost as soon as his new contract was signed that September, there has been a sense of decline, of a player whose best days are behind him.

“Stripped of the captaincy, too often the leadership has had to come from elsewhere. It is the young players driving Arsenal on under Mikel Arteta, not their best-paid player. That is a situation the club knows well having been through similar with Mesut Ozil. It cannot last.

“At 32, there will be hope that Aubameyang could yet recapture his best form, inspired by new surroundings and the challenge of restoring Barcelona to their former glories. At Arsenal, any regret will be tempered by the feeling that it is time for the club to move on.”

Merson: ‘Arsenal need a striker’

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Paul Merson tells Sky Sports News that a potential move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal to Barcelona ticks boxes for both clubs

Paul Merson told Sky Sports:

“If Alexandre Lacazette puts the open goal chance away against Burnley, it is job done and no one is moaning at all.

“Everyone would be talking about how good a result that would have been for Arsenal with a clean sheet too. It’s 1-0 to the Arsenal and everything is great. But he misses an open goal and all of a sudden, they have only scored one goal in January, which came in their best performance by a mile.

“That’s the problem Arsenal have. You are not going to win too much without a centre forward.

“I know people will say Manchester City do, but they still have to win the Champions League playing with a false nine. They also have superstars all over the pitch and are probably the only team in the world that could do that.

“So, Arsenal need a centre forward.”

Follow Arsenal with Sky Sports

Follow every Arsenal 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 Arsenal latest? Bookmark our Arsenal news page, check out Arsenal’s fixtures and Arsenal’s latest results, watch Arsenal goals and video, keep track of the Premier League table and see which Arsenal 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 Arsenal as your favourite team.

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Auba trains with Barca despite deal not being done

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang trained with Barcelona on Tuesday despite his transfer from Arsenal not being confirmed.

Aubameyang signed for Barcelona after a dramatic Transfer Deadline Day which saw his move collapse before being saved late on.

The Gabon forward flew to Barcelona on Monday morning and trained with his new team-mates on Tuesday.

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Take a look at how one of the biggest moves on Deadline Day happened as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left Arsenal for Barcelona on a free transfer.

However, neither Barcelona or Arsenal have officially confirmed the deal.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Barcelona president Joan Laporta said the club hope to announce the 32-year-old this week along with fellow new signing Adama Traore, who rejoined the club from Wolves.

Laporta said: “We will present Adama Traore tomorrow and, if everything continues well, we will also present Aubameyang.”

Arsenal became willing to allow Aubameyang to leave after stripping him of the captaincy in December following a disciplinary issue.

The 32-year-old did not play for the club after December 6, and was left out of their squad for their warm-weather training camp in Dubai.

Aubameyang, who scored 92 goals in 163 games for the Gunners, leaves the Emirates Stadium inside the final 18 months of a contract worth £350,000 a week.

The Premier League club are estimated to be making a saving of around £25m in wages with Aubameyang’s departure. But his exit means Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will finish the season with just two recognised strikers in his squad, with both Eddie Nketiah and Alex Lacazette out of contract in the summer.

The deal had looked off earlier on Deadline Day after talks broke down over the financial part of the deal. But it is understood that Aubameyang took a significant pay cut to facilitate the move.

Will Aubameyang make Barca’s Europa League squad?

UEFA rules state clubs can only register a maximum of three new players signed during the January window to their European squads.

Barcelona signed Dani Alves, Ferran Torres, Adama Traore and Aubameyang during the transfer window, meaning manager Xavi will have to leave one out of Barcelona’s squad for the Europe League.

Barcelona host Napoli for the first leg of their Europa League play-off clash on February 17.

Analysis: A risk for Arteta and Arsenal

Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol:

“This is a big risk by Mikel Arteta because what happens if Aubameyang goes to Barcelona and scores a lot of goals?

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Kevin Campbell says Arsenal are playing ‘Russian roulette’ by not bringing in a new striker to replace Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang

“It just shows how much Arsenal are backing the judgement of their manager. Arteta is saying ‘I know he is our best goalscorer, he is the club captain, he is the highest earner at the club for disciplinary reasons l don’t want him at the club’. It’s a big, big call.

“I know he is leaving Arsenal under a bit of a cloud but there are also a lot of good memories. His ratio of goals to games is right up there with the great players.

“Arsenal supporters will say ‘we are weaker now than we were at the start of the window’. But in this instance, you have to back Mikel Arteta’s judgement – that is what the Arsenal owners are doing.”

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La Liga TV presenter Semra Hunter says she expects Barcelona to announce the completion of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s transfer from Arsenal on Tuesday afternoon.

Analysis: Aubameyang had lost his way

Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:

“The drop in performance levels has been so great that it is probably worth reminding people that Aubameyang was a world-class striker for much of his time at Arsenal.

“Indeed, from the day of his debut for the club in February 2018 until the day of his double against Everton in February 2020, no player scored more Premier League goals. He scored 49 times in that period, the same as Mohamed Salah and a dozen more than Harry Kane.

“There was a notable highlight after that when he scored twice in Arsenal’s FA Cup final win over Chelsea in the summer of 2020. But almost as soon as his new contract was signed that September, there has been a sense of decline, of a player whose best days are behind him.

“Stripped of the captaincy, too often the leadership has had to come from elsewhere. It is the young players driving Arsenal on under Mikel Arteta, not their best-paid player. That is a situation the club knows well having been through similar with Mesut Ozil. It cannot last.

“At 32, there will be hope that Aubameyang could yet recapture his best form, inspired by new surroundings and the challenge of restoring Barcelona to their former glories. At Arsenal, any regret will be tempered by the feeling that it is time for the club to move on.”

Merson: ‘Arsenal need a striker’

Paul Merson told Sky Sports:

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Paul Merson tells Sky Sports News that a move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal to Barcelona ticks boxes for both clubs.

“If Alexandre Lacazette puts the open goal chance away against Burnley, it is job done and no one is moaning at all.

“Everyone would be talking about how good a result that would have been for Arsenal with a clean sheet too. It’s 1-0 to the Arsenal and everything is great. But he misses an open goal and all of a sudden, they have only scored one goal in January, which came in their best performance by a mile.

“That’s the problem Arsenal have. You are not going to win too much without a centre forward.

“I know people will say Manchester City do, but they still have to win the Champions League playing with a false nine. They also have superstars all over the pitch and are probably the only team in the world that could do that.

“So, Arsenal need a centre forward.”

Follow Arsenal with Sky Sports

Follow every Arsenal 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 Arsenal latest? Bookmark our Arsenal news page, check out Arsenal’s fixtures and Arsenal’s latest results, watch Arsenal goals and video, keep track of the Premier League table and see which Arsenal 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 Arsenal 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.

Aubameyang arrives in Barcelona amid ongoing talks

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has already arrived in Barcelona, despite ongoing discussions over the financial terms for a loan move from Arsenal.

The two clubs have not finalised terms, but there is increased confidence it can be completed before the transfer window closes on Monday night, and Aubameyang is understood to be making “financial sacrifices” to seal the switch.

Sky Sports News has been told there is an element of surprise in some quarters that Aubameyang has headed to Barcelona before a deal has been agreed.

It is understood Aubameyang has not met with anyone at Barcelona since his arrival, but he is ready to take a medical ahead of a move to the Nou Camp until the end of the season.

Barcelona would not have an option to make Aubameyang’s switch permanent, and discussions continue over how much of the forward’s wages they would cover.

Juventus also wanted to sign Aubameyang but their move was dependent on Atletico Madrid agreeing to cut Alvaro Morata’s loan spell short. As it stands, Morata will stay at Juventus.

Arsenal are willing to allow Aubameyang to leave after stripping him of the captaincy in December following a disciplinary issue.

The 32-year-old has not played for the club since December 6, and was left out of their squad for their warm-weather training camp in Dubai this week.

Sky Sports News reported earlier in the window that the 32-year-old would prefer a move to a top European club if a deal could be agreed.

Marseille, Sevilla, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan all expressed an interest, while Saudi Arabian clubs Al Nassr and Al Hilal made loan offers with obligations to buy.

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We take a look back at some of Aubameyang’s best Premier League goals for Arsenal

Analysis: Aubameyang had lost his way

Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:

The drop in performance levels has been so great that it is probably worth reminding people that Aubameyang was a world-class striker for much of his time at Arsenal.

Indeed, from the day of his debut for the club in February 2018 until the day of his double against Everton in February 2020, no player scored more Premier League goals. He scored 49 times in that period, the same as Mohamed Salah and a dozen more than Harry Kane.

aubameyang scoring against tottenham
Image:
Aubameyang has seven goals for Arsenal this season, but none since October

There was a notable highlight after that when he scored twice in Arsenal’s FA Cup final win over Chelsea in the summer of 2020. But almost as soon as his new contract was signed that September, there has been a sense of decline, of a player whose best days are behind him.

Stripped of the captaincy, too often the leadership has had to come from elsewhere. It is the young players driving Arsenal on under Mikel Arteta, not their best-paid player. That is a situation the club knows well having been through similar with Mesut Ozil. It cannot last.

At 32, there will be hope that Aubameyang could yet recapture his best form, inspired by new surroundings and the challenge of restoring Barcelona to their former glories. At Arsenal, any regret will be tempered by the feeling that it is time for the club to move on.

Has Aubameyang played his final game for Arsenal?

Sky Sports News’ Dharmesh Sheth:

“The deal is not done with Barcelona but there is an increasing confidence it can be done.

“It is a straight loan until the end of the season. Discussions are ongoing about how much of a percentage of his wages Barcelona will pay – we think he is on £350,000 a week.

“Arsenal will be looking for the majority of that payment to be made by Barcelona.

“These developments with Aubameyang explain why, as it stands, Eddie Nketiah remains at Arsenal. That is despite Crystal Palace making two bids during this transfer window.”

Merson: ‘Arsenal need a striker’

Paul Merson told Sky Sports:

“If Alexandre Lacazette puts the open goal chance away against Burnley, it is job done and no one is moaning at all.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the goalless draw between Arsenal and Burnley in the Premier League

“Everyone would be talking about how good a result that would have been for Arsenal with a clean sheet too. It’s 1-0 to the Arsenal and everything is great. But he misses an open goal and all of a sudden, they have only scored one goal in January, which came in their best performance by a mile.

“That’s the problem Arsenal have. You are not going to win too much without a centre forward.

“I know people will say Manchester City do, but they still have to win the Champions League playing with a false nine. They also have superstars all over the pitch and are probably the only team in the world that could do that.

“So, Arsenal need a centre forward.”

Follow Deadline Day with Sky Sports

The clock is ticking. Who will be on the move before the transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday January 31?

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

Follow Arsenal with Sky Sports

Follow every Arsenal 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 Arsenal latest? Bookmark our Arsenal news page, check out Arsenal’s fixtures and Arsenal’s latest results, watch Arsenal goals and video, keep track of the Premier League table and see which Arsenal 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 Arsenal 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.

Dembele set to stay at Barcelona | Chelsea interested in summer deal

Ousmane Dembele is set to stay at Barcelona until the end of the season, despite Chelsea make an enquiry about signing the winger on Deadline Day.

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 do 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.

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Back in June last year, Ousmane Dembele scored for France against Wales in a friendly

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.

Pulisic: It’s been ‘tough’ playing out of position at Chelsea

Christian Pulisic says he has found life at Chelsea tough because “I haven’t always been playing in the positions I want to play in”.

It follows similar comments from Romelu Lukaku to Sky in Italy published in December, with the striker saying he was “not happy” with his situation at Chelsea due, in part, to a change in formation by head coach Thomas Tuchel.

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Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic expresses his frustration with being played out of position this year but insists he is fully focused while on international duty with the USA team

Pulisic has played as a winger, striker and wing-back at times under Tuchel, managing just three goals and one assist in 19 appearances in all competitions this season.

The 23-year-old, who arrived at Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund for £57.6m in January 2019, is hoping things will improve once he returns from international duty with the USA next month.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I haven’t always been playing in the positions I want to play in. But I think it’s a good quality to be versatile and be able to play in all kinds of positions and have different strengths on the pitch.

“So, yeah, I’ve learned a lot and I think I’m ready to hopefully be in a spot in the next couple of games that I’m more comfortable in.”

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.

Follow Deadline Day with Sky Sports

The clock is ticking. Who will be on the move before the transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday January 31?

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.