Barcelona have been given a glimmer of hope in their ongoing contract wrangle with Ousmane Dembele, after it looked like they were chasing after a lost cause. Despite the Frenchman's agent criticising the club with regards to its handing of his client, there remains a possibility that the Catalan club could still retain the services of Dembele beyond this summer.

Dembele is into the final six months of his contract with Barcelona, and is now allowed to talk to clubs outside Spain about a pre-contract agreement for a free transfer in the summer. The La Liga giants are desperate to hold onto the France international and have been in talks with his representatives for a number of months.

A recent report suggested that there was an agreement in principle, but the arrival of Ferran Torres from Manchester City in a mega £46.7 million deal complicated matters. Dembele's camp reneged on the offer, and have demanded that Barcelona treat him in a similar manner and offer him wages without a pay cut.

Barcelona director of football Matheu Alemany confirmed recently that there will be no further meetings with Dembele until they get a response with regards to the offer currently on the table. According to Sport, Xavi's insistence on keeping Dembele could see his representatives return to the table in the hope of reaching a compromise.

Xavi has been vocal about the need for the former Borussia Dortmund winger to remain at the club beyond the summer of 2022. He is certain that Dembele can be a success at the Camp Nou after failing to realise his full potential since his €104 million move from the Bundesliga in 2017.

Barcelona are hoping to agree a deal before the end of the January transfer window, with another meeting expected to take place before the end of the month. Dembele is not short of suitors, and should his relationship with the Catalan club continue to deteriorate, he has a number of options to choose from.

Chelsea, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Juventus are all interested in the speedy winger's services, and are ready to beat the offer currently on the table. The English Premier League clubs are even expected to have offered a hefty signing on fee, if he signs a pre-contract and leave Barcelona on a free transfer in the summer.

Ousmane Dembele
On the front foot: Ousmane Dembele set France on the way to victory with the opening goal in Kazakhstan FRANCK FIFE/AFP