Chelsea ‘pushing’ to sign Liverpool target Ousmane Dembele from Barca

Chelsea are ‘pushing’ to sign Liverpool target Ousmane Dembele, according to a report.

The Barcelona winger, 24, is in the final six months of his contract, leading to speculation that a transfer to Liverpool may be on the cards. Xavi attempted to end such links when he said a new deal was in the works.

“I feel positive with him again,” the manager told reporters. “Ousmane says that he wants to continue, that he is happy here.

“It is a matter of agreeing with his representative. He knows about the importance he will have if he stays.”

But negotiations soon hit a major stumbling block – Dembele’s astronomical wage demands. Sky Sports Germany reporter Florian Plettenburg claims the Frenchman wants €43m (£36m) per year to sign on again, which equates to an astonishing £700,000 a week.

Barcelona are unlikely to sanction this due to two factors. Firstly, Dembele has had an underwhelming time in Spain since his £135.5m switch from Dortmund.

Secondly, the club is in over €1bn of debt. They could only register new signing Ferran Torres once Samuel Umtiti had agreed to take a wage cut.

Chelsea could now pounce on the situation. Sport Witness, who cite French outlet L’Equipe, state the Blues are ‘pushing’ to land Dembele.

They are among the candidates to snap him up on a free transfer once his terms expire on July 1. Thomas Tuchel’s side are apparently monitoring the contract debacle ‘closely’.

Chelsea’s financial power means they could easily meet Dembele’s salary demands, although whether they would want to is another matter.

Tuchel already has a host of players who can operate out wide or just behind the striker. Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi are all at his disposal.

Dembele would probably only join if one of those stars were to leave Stamford Bridge.

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