Soccer-Xavi says Dembele must renew Barca contract or leave

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - LaLiga - FC Barcelona v Elche - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - December 18, 2021 FC Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele in action REUTERS/Albert Gea

(Reuters) - Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said forward Ousmane Dembele must renew his contract or the Spanish club will sell the France international during this month’s transfer window.

Dembele, who joined Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 in a deal worth an initial 105 million euros ($119.19 million), will be out of contract at the end of June.

The forward’s time at Camp Nou has been marred by injuries, with the 24-year-old scoring 31 goals in 129 games in all competitions.

Barcelona have been in talks with Dembele over a renewal for several months, but are yet to reach an agreement.

“Either the player renews or we look for an exit for the player - there is no other possibility,” Xavi told a news conference on Wednesday.

“He wants to stay but it has not been agreed so we have to make a decision as a club and that is either to renew or find an exit.

“It’s a shame. He has played every possible minute since I have been coach.”

Barcelona are sixth in LaLiga. They play at Athletic Bilbao in the last-16 of the Copa del Rey on Thursday.

($1 = 0.8810 euros)

Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis