GOAL can confirm that Barcelona have held a "very positive" meeting with Ousmane Dembele's representatives with regards to a potential contract extension, but negotiations are set to continue over the financial 'red lines' currently in place at Camp Nou.
Dembele has enjoyed a resurgence under Xavi since seeing a proposed January exit fall through, playing a key role in Barca's rise to third in La Liga and progression to the Europa League quarter-finals.
The Spanish giants had been ready to say goodbye to the 24-year-old in the winter window, but are now eager to tie him down to fresh terms before his contract expires on June 30.
- 'Football is a scam' - How the Premier League's original Spanish wonderkid lost his love for the game
- The King of Milan? Lukaku just another willing pawn in an increasingly absurd transfer market
- Watch: Rice opens mystery boxes containing his greatest fear and more
- Brugts, Kuhl and the NXGN stars to watch at the 2022 UEFA Women's Euros
What's the situation?
GOAL understands that Barca's sporting director Mateu Alemany flew to Morrocco to meet with Dembele's agent, Moussa Sissoko, at the start of the week to reopen contract renewal talks.
No specific proposal was left on the table and the two men did not discuss anything money-related, but a clean slate was agreed upon that paves the way for a potential continuation of the relationship between player and club.
Dembele had been accused of putting financial gain above his goals with the team when he rejected the club's previous extension offers, but Alemany and Sissoko are now ready to forget the past and work on a new deal.
Alemany confirmed Barca's desire to retain Dembele before their 1-0 win over Sevilla at the weekend, telling reporters: "For us, he can stay as long as [any agreement] remains within the club's sustainable salary limit and is proportionate to his teammates."
Will Dembele stay at Barca?
Barca are set to continue talks with Dembele's representatives in the coming days, with it now their main goal to reach a financial compromise.
The Catalunya outfit cannot afford to pay the World Cup winner an astronomical annual salary due to the fact they are still recovering from the record-breaking debts they posted in 2021.
A number of first-team players had to be let go last summer as the club was forced to reduce its overall wage bill, including all-time record scorer Messi, and they won't exceed La Liga limits again under any circumstances.
Spanish outlet SPORT has reported that Dembele currently earns around €14 million per year at Barca, but he would have to take a significant pay cut in order to stay put.
GOAL can confirm that several clubs are interested in signing the France international if he becomes a free agent and, although his agent will try to be flexible in negotiations with Barca, he is still open to all avenues in order to get his client the best possible contract as he edges towards the prime years of his career.