Ousmane Dembele has been given a contract renewal ultimatum by FC Barcelona
Patience is wearing thin with Ousmane Dembele at Camp Nou
Upon the arrival of club legend Xavi Hernandez as head coach last month, the second all-time appearances leader spoke fondly of the Frenchman and predicted big things for him in an FC Barcelona shirt.
"He can be the best in the world in his position," the 41-year-old said of his fellow World Cup winner, despite his time in Catalonia being riddled with injuries and few memorable moments on the pitch.
Yet despite the confidence shown in him by the new boss, the youngster is dragging his heels over signing a new contract and extending terms beyond 2022.
Joining in the same summer Neymar left in 2017, for a then club-record €105mn ($119mn) plus add-ons, 'the Mosquito' is free to speak with who he wishes from January onwards as his contract expires at the end of June.
Among the frontrunners to snatch him away are Newcastle United, who after a $330mn takeover by a Saudi-backed consortium in October can offer him cash that a struggling Barca in over $1bn's worth of debt simply doesn't have to hand.
In any event, the Catalans have reportedly granted him 15 days until December 15th to make his mind up on his future, following which he could be confined to the terraces like Ilaix Moriba last season.
According to Mundo Deportivo, negotiations with Dembele personally have gone well with the ex-Borussia Dortmund star communicating he wishes to continue with his current employers while happy with the team and his adopted city. Furthermore, public backing from Xavi has also encouraged him.
Causing problems however is his agent Moussa Sissoko, who has allegedly rejected various proposals to renew despite Barca's offer supposedly being "competitive".
It is said to last three years in total taking him to 2025, and is meant to be no different to those offered to other first team players recently. But Sissoko is said to be holding out for a "Ballon d'Or" salary despite his client failing to kick on at his elite club since joining as a 20-year-old.
In the worst case scenario that Dembele does up sticks, there are plenty of widemen coming through from La Masia and the B team such as Moroccan-descent pair Ilias Akhomach and Ez Abde for starters.