Ousmane Dembele is close to signing a new contract with Barcelona that may feature a pay cut, according to Sport, despite the winger attracting interest from Liverpool this summer.

Barcelona have always wanted to extend the Frenchman’s stay at the Camp Nou but feared the feeling was not mutual. Dembele turned down the La Liga giant’s previous offers and all hopes of renewing appeared over.

But Barcelona have maintained contact with his agent and are optimistic that Dembele will now put pen to paper. The forward would otherwise be able to start negotiating a free transfer from January 1 when his current £212k-a-week deal rolls into its final six-months.

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Dembele rejected Barcelona’s previous offers as he knows he can secure a more lucrative wage elsewhere as a free agent. Liverpool may have been one to try and sign him, as Fabrizio Romano noted Dembele has never left their radar.

Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Manchester United, as well as Liverpool, have kept tabs on Dembele, per Mundo Deportivo. But chances a move this summer, when Sport believe he was available for €50-60m (£43-51m), ended when he sustained a long-term injury.

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Dembele is unlikely to return to the pitch before November, when the Liverpool target may have a new Barcelona contract. The Catalan side are confident they will agree a one or two-year extension, which may feature a partial pay cut.

Sport’s report is good news for Barcelona over fears of losing Dembele for free, but bad for Liverpool’s pursuit. Jurgen Klopp may face a heighted asking price to sign the forward next year, if he revives the Reds’ interest.

Barcelona to deal Liverpool blow with new Dembele contract

Liverpool’s hopes of signing Dembele are not entirely over with Barcelona confident he will sign a new contract. But it will make their approach increasingly difficult, as the La Liga side would be under less pressure to sell.

It also speaks volumes of the £135.5m former Borussia Dortmund dynamo’s desires to stay at the Camp Nou. Accepting a pay cut, however slight, shows where his heart is when next summer could return a vast pay day.

So, Klopp may have to turn Liverpool’s attention away from Barcelona in his bid to sign a forward like Dembele. A player who Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel waxes lyrical over from his time at BVB. The German told Soccer AM: “He had a natural talent and he was very outstanding.” Adding: “Dembele was one of the craziest natural talents.”