OUSMANE DEMBELE is set to snub a move to Chelsea in favour of staying at Barcelona, reports suggest.
The French winger’s contract with the Catalan club expired last month, but now he is close to agreeing to a new deal with them.
According to Fabrizio Romano, the deal is ‘really close’ to being completed and now just requires the green light from Barcelona.
This will come as a big blow to Chelsea, who were pushing to sign the 25-year-old on a free transfer.
Thomas Tuchel was keen to recruit the winger, who played under him while the pair were at Borussia Dortmund.
However, the breakdown of this transfer will pave the way for The Blues to push ahead with a move for Leeds winger Raphinha.
The Brazilian has been linked with a move away from Elland Road with a number of major clubs after his signature, including London rivals Arsenal and Barcelona.
Chelsea have agreed a £55million fee to sign him, but after interest from Barcelona was confirmed Raphinha wanted to join the La Liga outfit despite them submitting a far lower bid for his services.
With all the interest in his services, Leeds boss Jesse Marsch admitted he was unsure whether Raphinha would be on the club’s pre-season tour.
“My guess is, I don’t know. We just have to wait and see what happens in the next couple of days,” Marsch said.
FREE BETS AND SIGN UP DEALS – BEST NEW CUSTOMER OFFERS
“There’s urgency from his end, I think, to come up with a solution. We have to in the next couple of days see how things stand and see how we go.
“It hasn’t been an easy time for him this summer.
“Things have come and gone and there have been a lot of little discussions. Right now he’s our player.
“We’ll see how things progress day by day.”
Raphinha contributed to 14 goals in 35 games as a poor Leeds side narrowly avoided relegation from the Premier League, which included a goal on the final day as they beat Brentford 2-1.
Meanwhile, Dembele enjoyed a fruitful season in La Liga despite injuries plaguing the first half of his campaign, registering 13 assists and one goal in 23 league games.