Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele has insisted that it was always his ‘first option’ to sign a new contract and stay with the club.
The Frenchman officially signed his new deal on Thursday morning, two weeks after his previous contract had expired. This contract now runs until the summer of 2024.
Barça were ready to sell Dembele in January after contract talks broke down and it appeared he would leave as a free agent this summer. But no transfer was agreed, while a subsequent resurgence on the pitch underlined to head coach Xavi the importance of keeping him at Camp Nou.
The 25-year-old’s future remained uncertain amid strong interest from Chelsea and president Joan Laporta was adamant at the start of July that the offer on the table would be the final offer.
But eventually a breakthrough was reached and Dembele has said it was he wanted all along.
“Barça was my dream club since I was little and I am looking forward to a new season and doing everything for this club,” he explained.
“Barça was always my first option, and we are all happy and eager to start. Barça always has to be up there challenging for titles, and my dream is to win the Champions League. I will do everything, work hard for the boss on the pitch and hopefully this will be a big year for me and Barça”.
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Laporta described the contract extension as a ‘big day’ for the club.
“I am a huge admirer of his human qualities and want to thank him because he always wanted to stay. He has made a major effort given the circumstances we are in, and I am grateful to everyone who has helped make sure he stays at Barça,” the president said.
“We are very happy, he has extraordinary talent, incomparable. He has very specific talents and they do a lot for us. Xavi always wanted him here and so did the club. This year we have to fight for trophies.”
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