Ronald Koeman has called on Barcelona to prioritise extending Ousmane Dembele's contract as he feels the French forward brings a different dimension to his team's attack. The France international's current deal expires in 2022, and he is yet to commit his long-term future to the club.
The Catalan giants have been in talks with Dembele's representatives for a number of weeks, but have failed to get a response to the club's latest offer. Barcelona are keen to tie him down to a deal at least until 2024, but are unlikely to be able to offer him a massive pay rise owing to the club's ongoing financial troubles.
Dembele is currently injured and is yet to play this season, but is expected to return to action in the coming weeks after having returned to full training. He remains sought after despite his recent injury troubles and is likely to have a number of suitors if he fails to agree a deal with Barcelona before the January transfer window opens.
Koeman is keen for Barcelona to tie him down to a new deal at the earliest. The Dutch coach also indicated that the France international's current absence from the team is not due to his contract standoff with the club.
"The most important thing is that Ousmane stays. He's an important player with different qualities in attack. The main objective is to renew his contract," Koeman said, as quoted by Barca Blaugranes.
"It's another issue if he doesn't want to renew. We need to talk as a club about the best way to deal with that. We have still not decided what our strategy will be in the event he does not renew," he added.
Liverpool, Manchester United, Juventus, Newcastle United and Bayern Munich are all said to be monitoring the situation and will make a move for him if he fails to sign a new deal in the coming months. Dembele will be able to agree a pre-contract with clubs outside Spain in January, especially with the foreign clubs ready to offer him a hefty pay rise.