The French club’s initial plan was to pay the €50 million ($54.9 million) in the player’s buyout clause that expired Monday, but Dembélé rejected that proposal and urged the clubs to negotiate a fee that would satisfy all parties.
The buyout clause in the France international’s contract doubled to €100m Monday, but a source told ESPN that optimism remains on a deal, with Barca privately committed to accepting a deal close to the amount initially set in his previous clause.
Dembélé’s agent would have taken €25m of the €50m in the player’s buyout clause had PSG decided to proceed with that option, and it remains to be seen how much will be retained if the two clubs come to an agreement.
Sources told ESPN that Xavi met with Dembélé in recent days to try to convince him not to leave the club because he considers the winger to be a crucial part of his project. Dembélé started ahead of Raphinha, Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati in Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Real Madrid last weekend, scoring a goal in the opening 15 minutes.
However, PSG’s interest in Dembélé has changed his plans, with his contract due to expire next summer and the Catalan club unable to match PSG’s offer.
Dembélé arrived at Barca from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, when the club paid €105m plus add-ons, but he has since enjoyed mixed success.
Last summer, Dembélé almost left the Camp Nou as a free agent but eventually reached an agreement to renew until 2024.
The Catalan club have Raphinha and Ferran to cover his potential exit, but Xavi has publicly called for more reinforcements, and Dembélé’s departure is expected to shake up Barca’s transfer plans.