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Xavi welcomes Dembele back into Barcelona squad despite January transfer drama & urges fans not to boo him

17:52 EAT 05/02/2022
Ousmane Dembele Barcelona 2021
The France international has been included in the squad for Sunday's game against Atletico Madrid in La Liga

Barcelona boss Xavi has insisted the club should not 'shoot themselves in the foot' regarding Ousmane Dembele's short-term future at Camp Nou.

The Frenchman was named in the squad that is set to take on Atletico Madrid on Sunday, much to the surprise of many.

Dembele failed to secure a transfer away from Barcelona in the January transfer window, despite being strongly encouraged to as his contract is set to expire in the summer.

Dembele named in Barcelona squad

What has Xavi said?

Xavi said: "We did not find a solution with Ousmane, so the circumstances have now changed. We have spoken with the president [Joan Laporta] and made the decision [to reintegrate Dembele]. He has a contract, he is part of the squad and we are not going to shoot ourselves in the foot by not using him.

"I understand fans may be hurt by [the situation] but I encourage them to come and support the team and support Ousmane, if he plays. He is training well and has been a good professional.

"We have to close ranks and think what is best for the club. We think he can help us and will use him when we see convenient."

What's the latest regarding Dembele's future?

Dembele's current deal runs out in the summer but there have been no clear or official announcements in regards to where he may go.

Xavi is clearly a fan of the winger but has previously confirmed the club asked Dembele to leave after refusing the terms offered to him in January.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta had previously stated he feels the player has already agreed to a summer move but insisted the decision to play him will be Xavi's.

Laporta has said: “The coach decides, of course. The coach will decide and it’s a decision for him.

“I do think that he works for this season and the next one, and surely it is more difficult to play a player who will surely not be here – because there should be another club – because we are building a team.

“He has not wanted to renew and this feeling is a problem that I hope can be resolved in our favour for our interest and so that he does not get hurt either.”

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