Ousmane Dembele has revealed he told Barcelona coach Xavi he would sign a new contract with the club as far back as December.
France international Dembele looked to be heading out of Barcelona in January when acrimonious wrangling over his future led to him being ordered to find a new club.
At the time, Dembele had refused an extension to his deal, which ran through to the end of June, and Barcelona wanted to recoup some of his value rather than see him leave on a free transfer.
Despite reported interest from Paris Saint-Germain and a number of Premier League clubs, the 25-year-old signed a new two-year deal in July.
Having tallied the most assists (13) and expected assists (9.2 xA) in LaLiga last season, Dembele has recorded four league goal contributions this term (two goals, two assists).
The former Borussia Dortmund man is loving life at Camp Nou and revealed he told Xavi last year he would sign fresh terms with the Catalan giants.
“With Xavi’s confidence, I had to stay. I remember a meeting between him and me in December, and I told him that I was going to sign my contract,” he told RMC Sport.
“I feel good in the locker room, with all these young people. This whole team is developing well.
“I’ve always told Xavi that I wanted to stay at the club. There were negotiations and I didn’t settle, but I didn’t tell myself that I was going to leave the club.
“I’ve been here for the past five years, and it’s better now because everyone is talking about football.
“I’ve always dreamed of playing for Barcelona. I have realised my dream, and I’m very happy.”
Dembele is likely to be in action for France over the next week as Didier Deschamps’ side take on Austria and Denmark in the Nations League.