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Ousmane Dembele has not told Barcelona that he wants to leave in January and the club have no plans to sell him, sources have told ESPN FC.
Dembele, who cost €145 million when he joined from Borussia Dortmund last year, started the first nine games of the season but has been in and out of the side since being dropped for the Champions League game at Tottenham in October.
His professionalism has been questioned since he missed a training session earlier this month, with the club saying he had a stomach bug but media reports claiming he had been up all night playing computer games with friends.
Barca officials met Dembele’s agents during the international break, but general manager Pep Segura said it was a routine meeting. Sources said a January exit was not discussed.
In October, sources told ESPN FCthat Barca were concerned about some elements of Dembele’s lifestyle but would stick by him — and that remains the case despite reports this week suggesting otherwise.
Coach Ernesto Valverde has called the 21-year-old “a huge talent who brings qualities which no-one else can.”
The France forward’s late equaliser against Atletico Madrid on Saturday was his seventh goal of the season, and teammate Sergio Busquets has said the furore surrounding him is not as intense as it may appear.
“It’s not as difficult as it seems from outside,” he told Diario SPORT. “Ousmane is a good kid, young, who has come from a foreign country and needs an adaptation process.
“He’s a great footballer. We want to help him and hopefully he gives a lot — we know that he can.”
Dembele is in line to return to the starting lineup for Wednesday’s Champions League game at PSV Eindhoven, where a win would seal top place in Barca’s group.