Xavi ‘trying hard to convince’ Newcastle target to stay at Barca

Barcelona manager Xavi is ‘trying hard to convince’ Ousmane Dembele to stay at the club amidst rumours linking him with a move to Newcastle, according to reports.

Dembele joined the Catalan club for a huge transfer fee in 2017, signing from Borussia Dortmund for over £100million.

His time at the Camp Nou has been hampered by injuries with the young winger only making two appearances so far this season, featuring for 49 minutes in total.

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The France international’s contract expires at the end of this season with Barca desperate not to lose him on a free transfer amidst their difficult financial situation.

Despite the La Liga club’s eagerness to tie Dembele down to new terms, there is no sign that the 24-year-old will extend his contract.

As a result, he has been linked with numerous clubs. Newcastle are reportedly interested and now have the financial capability to buy the player in January, as opposed to on a pre-contract agreement.

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However, Barca’s new manager Xavi is ‘trying to convince’ the Frenchman to sign a new deal, according to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo (via Inside Futbol).

Xavi wants Dembele to feel like he ‘belongs at the Nou Camp’ and that he is a big part of the new manager’s plans.

As well as Newcastle, Manchester United, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Juventus have been heavily linked with the former Dortmund winger.

Elsewhere, Jurgen Klopp hit back at a journalist who accused the Liverpool boss of insulting Africa after he referred to the Africa Cup of Nations as a “little tournament”.

Klopp was asked before the game about the lack of international breaks until March but pointed out that some of his players will be competing for their countries at AFCON in January.

In a light-hearted, ironic response, the German said: “No international break until March, I’ve heard that so often, but in January there’s a little tournament in Africa, I just want to say.”

Some took offence, and Klopp was asked to apologise to the people of Africa for his choice of words.

“It’s all good, I didn’t mean it like that. I don’t know why you understand it like that to be honest,” Klopp replied.

“I didn’t mean it like that, come on… so I was not even close to it being the idea in my mind that I want to talk about the AFCON as a ‘little tournament’ or about the continent of Africa as a ‘little continent’, not at all.”

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