Joan Laporta admits the contract negotiations with the Frenchman are slower than anticipated.
Ousmane Dembele is spending the last months of his current contract at Camp Nou. The Barcelona winger is in negotiations with the club to extend his deal. However, reaching an agreement has proved harder than initially expected.
In recent days, several sources have claimed Dembele is demanding a salary that Barcelona are not willing to pay. The Frenchman has constantly struggled for fitness since his move from Borussia Dortmund in 2017.
The club were reportedly keen to offer Dembele an injury-dependent contract, which would cut his earnings in case of injuries. However, the Frenchman is not happy with the offer as he prepares to start negotiating with other clubs in February.
In a new interview with TV3, Barcelona president Joan Laporta gave an update on the contract talks.
“It has been a slower process than desired on our part,” he said.
“We are working on it, we continue with our swords raised.”
He added: “We can’t ignore that there is a salary margin. We first have to expand that salary margin and the only way to expand it is for some players to come out of the squad,” Laporta said.
“Xavi knows the players he has and is in permanent communication with the football director, Mateu Alemany, our general director and the people we trust.
“If it is possible to strengthen the team, we will see what possibilities we have.
“Xavi has a lot of players and we are sure that he will be able to get much more out of the squad than has been obtained so far.
“We are confident that Xavi will apply a criterion that will make this squad much more efficient than it is.”
Xavi named Dembele as one of the key players in his squad after joining Barcelona last month. However, the Catalans might lose another important player amid financial issues.
Barcelona are unbeaten in three games under Xavi. The Blaugrana will return to action on Saturday as they face Real Bets in a La Liga game.