Long-term Liverpool target given January exit ultimatum as contract talks stall

The French star could be on his way out of the Catalan giants.

Ousmane Dembele of FC Barcelona. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Long-term Liverpool target Ousmane Dembele could be on his way out of Barcelona after being handed a contract ultimatum by the La Liga side.

According to a fresh report from Spanish outlet Sport, the wide man is facing uncertainty over his future at Camp Nou, and has failed to agree terms on a new deal that would extend his stay in Catalonia.

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The 24-year-old’s current contract expires in June, meaning that he is eligible to sign a pre-contractual agreement with another club from January 1st onwards that would allow him to leave on a free transfer at the end of the season.

In an attempt to prevent that happening, Barca are understood to have tabled a new offer to Dembele, along with the caveat that it must be signed by December 31st.

If not, the four-time Champions League winners could look to offload the Frenchman for a fee in the January window.

According to the Express, that is where Liverpool could come in.

The Reds are said to be long-term admirers of Dembele, and may look to bring in replacements for the Afcon-bound Sadio Mane and Mo Salah next month.

What are the bookies saying?

There’s still a long time to go before we reach the end of January, and all sorts of twists and turns could happen between now and then, but at the present moment, the bookies seemingly believe that Liverpool could have quite the battle on their hands if they are to lure Dembele to Anfield.

The Reds are priced at 10/1, but are trailing both Manchester United(7/1) and Chelsea (8/1) ahead of them, according to SkyBet.

How likely are Liverpool to seal the deal?

There are a lot of moving parts to this one, and as a result, it’s hard to give any sort of concrete answer.

In all likelihood, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Dembele move this January. Talks over a new deal have stalled for some time, and with that New Year’s Even deadline reportedly looming, Barca may decide to cut their losses and move the Frenchman on in January rather than lose him for free in the summer.

Whether Liverpool will be tempted to make a move remains to be seen, however.

The Reds have spent big in January before, and the upcoming absences of Salah and Mane could be enough to convince them to move for reinforcements in the coming weeks, but even with his contract running down, Dembele is unlikely to come cheap.

What are fans saying?

Quite a few supporters seem very keen on the prospect of Dembele signing for Liverpool.

@ROLOred05 tweeted: “He’ll be perfect for us. Klopp will turn him into a monster.”

@jaycmoore90 tweeted: “Sign him up. Especially for free. Klopp would get the absolute best out of him.”

Other fans were less convinced, however, citing Dembele’s extensive injury record in particular.

@itscmhk tweeted: “Overrated inconsistent player. Klopp won’t take him”

@LouisClarke3 tweeted: “He’s made of crisps that lad”