CHELSEA have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Ousmane Dembele as the Barcelona president confirms new contract talks.
The winger has long been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge amid his topsy-turvy career at Barcelona.
Chelsea have reportedly looked at the former Dortmund attacker among many other targets as they look to firm up their forward line.
But any chance of landing Dembele appears to have slimmed following the noises made by Joan Laporta.
The Barca club president has indicated a desire to secure the 25-year-old for the future.
Dembele’s contract expires in 2024, meaning the star could have been have been available at a cheaper price next summer.
But transfer guru Fabrizio Romano reports Laporta said: “Ousmane is happy and motivated. There will be time to talk about renewals.”
The positive sounds from the president is a serious change from earlier this year, as the club and Dembele were locked in a game of brinkmanship over his contract.
Laporta even made clear his own desperation to get the player out of the Nou Camp last season.
Many were left surprised when Dembele renewed his contract in July.
But since signing new terms, Dembele has shown impressive form this season and can boast four goals and five assists in 14 La Liga games.
If he is no longer available, Chelsea still have plenty of other options of players who have a similar attacking profile.
Lille’s Jonathan David and Rafael Leao of AC Milan have both been strongly linked with a transfer to the Blues.
Christopher Nkunku – who was ruled out of the World Cup yesterday after a training ground injury – is also believed to be close to a move.